How We Pay for Transportation: The Life and Death of the Highway Trust Fund

The Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which has been the source of federal funding for highways and transit since 1956, continues to face shortfalls due to unwillingness on the part of elected officials to raise the fuel tax, rising fuel-efficiency, and declining vehicle-miles traveled. This continuous funding crisis has not only inhibited needed expansion of the federal surface transportation program, but it also has served as a substantial impediment to essential reforms.

Identifying that the current approach to paying for surface transportation at the federal level is broken, the Eno research team performed an 18-month political and historical analysis of transportation funding sources in the U.S., including the “user-pay” model. The research team then examined how peer countries fund their transportation systems at the national level. Through data comparisons and case studies the research team developed national policy recommendations regarding a potential move to greater use of general fund revenues for federal surface transportation programs.

In December 2014, Eno released How We Pay for Transportation: The Life and Death of the Highway Trust Fund.


This research was funded through a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.



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