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600451-00007-1 Report Abstract

Equity Evaluation of Sustainable Mileage Based User Fee Scenarios

Mark Burris, Sunghoon Lee, Tina Geiselbrecht and Trey Baker, October 2013

The Texas state gas tax has been 20 cents per gallon since 1991, and the federal gas tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. The gas tax is not only stagnant, but depreciating in value due to inflation.  This is forcing some transportation providers to increase their focus on spending for a more sustainable transportation system, thus shifting how tax revenues are spent. One proposed alternative to the gas tax is the creation of a mileage-based user fee (MBUF), which would then shift how revenues are collected. This research examined potential equity impacts of these shifts in the collection and disbursement of transportation funds.

This research used 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) Texas data along with detailed spending estimates from the Texas Department of Transportation to consider the equity impacts surrounding three MBUF and spending scenarios. NHTS data were weighted to reflect results representative of Texas vehicle-owning households. Each scenario was run both statically and dynamically under the assumption that the MBUF would replace the state gas tax. Results indicate that the impact of the MBUF on geographic equity can be different depending on allocation of transportation funding. However, the MBUF was essentially as equally vertically equitable as the current state gas tax.

Keywords: Mileage-Based User Fee, Equity, Tax Revenue

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.9 MB)