Roads funding at dispute, new options exist

From Chris Woodward's column in OneNewsNow:

Marc Scribner, land-use and transportation policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, believes things will reach a point at the federal level when lawmakers and agencies say the U.S. cannot continue in this manner.

"They're just going to have to say, Look, we were able to do this for [the] 35 years that it took us to build the interstate system, but the interstate system is done," says Scribner.

The analyst adds that the federal highway programs were never intended to last beyond the completion of the interstate system two decades ago. By this time, Scribner says states should have taken over as the federal government does not control much beyond the "purse strings and some safety regulations."

Marc Scribner (CEI)"I think the states should be able to look at options such as tolling, which I think is a much better option, much fairer, much more efficient option if they do it right," says Scribner.

"But also there are things on the horizon such as driver-less cars [and] there is new technology coming online such as vehicle-miles-traveled fees, where we can actually integrate the whole road network with a fee structure and charge based on the type of road at the time you drive."

One of the more talked-about ideas recently involves a study in Oregon using a GPS that communicates with a gas pump to determine how much tax is paid. Still, that has some Americans concerned about privacy rights. Scribner agrees, but adds there is another issue that needs to be addressed.

"If you have one of these boxes in your car and it's charging you at the pump, you want to be able to dispute it if the number is wrong," he explains. "At the same time, you don't want the government to know and be able to easily access that information."

When it comes to the Oregon study, Scribner points out that all the government would be able to discern was the type of road taken, be it highway or county road. It would not be able to pinpoint exactly where your car was at a given point of time.