Why Congress Should Enact a Mileage-Based User Fee for Heavy Trucking

April 3, 2024

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Congress has supported various Mileage-Based User Fee (MBUF) pilot programs, but progress remains slow. To break out of this inertia, Congress should mandate an MBUF system for heavy trucks in the upcoming Surface Transportation Reauthorization.
  • Starting with a national system for trucks would be much more straightforward than it would be for passenger cars. Trucks already have GPS, so the cost of installing onboard “computers” to measure distances and track payments would be relatively minor.
  • An MBUF system for heavy trucks would pave the way for autos and light-duty trucks to be included next. It also would establish a national weight-distance road tax to ensure heavy trucks pay the full costs of the road damage they cause.
  • An MBUF system would make it easier to end the market-distorting subsidies provided to trucking, increase revenue for the highway trust fund, and reduce damage to roads and bridges.