Denver — The I-95 Corridor Coalition is set to test the design, implementation and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue mechanisms for funding transportation after the U.S. Federal Highway Administration awarded the Delaware Department of Transportation, on behalf of the Coalition, a Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives grant for the multi-state project along the eastern seaboard. CH2M is performing the overall project management, planning and technical work for the project, which will look at mileage-based user fees as one of the alternatives.
The Coalition, which includes all the Departments of Transportation and the major toll and turnpike agencies in the region, is focusing its $1.16 million project on three major activities within the states of Delaware and Pennsylvania:
Education and outreach — developing public outreach materials that explain to the driving public, transportation officials and stakeholders why investing in transportation is important, why the current fuel tax does not provide a long-term and equitable solution and why exploring a usage fee approach is necessary.
Planning and analysis of issues — formulating approaches to the estimation of out-of-state mileage, interstate transfer of MBUF funds, interoperability with the toll facilities, the role of department of motor vehicles (DMVs), privacy concerns and options to promote equitable application of a user fee approach.
MBUF pilot system — conducting a three-month pilot consisting of approximately 50 vehicles in the two states. Pilot deployment will include an operational concept document, system requirements, selection of one or more vendors to provide hardware and related services and pilot evaluation.
“The primary source for surface transportation revenues — the pay at the pump fuel tax, which is typically based on a fixed amount per gallon — is not keeping up with the increasing infrastructure and operational needs of the roadway networks, let alone future investment needs,” said Dr. Patricia Hendren, I-95 Corridor Coalition executive director. “This is especially true of the Coalition’s region, where the infrastructure is America’s oldest and the need for capacity enhancements and continual maintenance and rehabilitation is most acute.”
Selected – in part for their niche MBUF policy and technology capabilities – to help the Coalition find the best alternative to meet these needs, CH2M leads the industry as the first consultant to successfully plan, develop, design, test, manage and rollout multiple MBUF pilot programs in the U.S., including:
- Overseeing all aspects of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Road Usage Charge Pilot Program, as well as the deployment planning for the follow-up state-wide program, OReGO.
- Serving as prime consultant leading Colorado’s RUC Pilot Research Study.
- Conducting a comprehensive independent evaluation of the California Road Charge Pilot Program — a 5,000-person volunteer program for assessing the feasibility of RUC in America’s most populous state.
- Performing work for the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium, including a project to identify and address concerns and expectations for privacy protection, and a current project to assist in developing a Common Concept of Operations for a regional pilot.
The Coalition’s geography is a massive economic driver for the U.S., representing 37 percent of the nation’s population, 40 percent of the gross domestic product, 12,058 interstate highway miles and 907,000 total road miles.
“Together, this extensive network of roads serves 103 commercial airports and 46 water ports,” said CH2M Advanced Mobility Systems Practice Director Lou Neudorff. “Finding an alternative mechanism to fund necessary transportation improvements to keep people and goods moving quickly, cost-effectively and reliably through this transportation system is vital to the quality of life and business growth for the country and this region.”
The I-95 Corridor Coalition MBUF Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from the participating states, including staff from the respective Departments of Transportation, DMVs and finance agencies, along with other key stakeholders from the tolling industry, trucking industry and AAA, will oversee the project’s efforts to find a future-proof solution to fund transportation improvements.
The I-95 Corridor Coalition (http://i95coalition.org) is a partnership of transportation agencies, toll authorities, public safety and related organizations, from the State of Maine to the State of Florida, with affiliate members in Canada.