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Interstate 2.0: Modernizing the Interstate Highway System via Toll Finance

September 12, 2013

This policy study, authored by Reason Foundation Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow Robert Poole in September 2013, examines the current state of national highway funding, and suggests more efficient methods through which construction and repair

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This policy study, authored by Reason Foundation Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow Robert Poole in September 2013, examines the current state of national highway funding, and suggests more efficient methods through which construction and repair of the federal Interstate highway system can be funded.

By shifting the nation’s transportation funding system away from per-gallon taxes on fuel, and to the use of user fee-based toll roads—in other words, taxing the units of miles driven on highways—highway user fees “can be tailored to the cost of each road and bridge, rather than being
averaged across all types of roads, from neighborhood streets to massive Interstates.”

“Per-mile tolling reflects greater fairness,” Poole writes, “since those who drive mostly on Interstates will
pay higher rates than those who drive mostly on local streets.” Per-mile tolling would be a self-limiting tax, “dedicated solely to the purpose for which it was implemented,” avoiding a common problem of the current per-gallon fuel tax.