Graves and Carper Ask DOT for Status of Delayed Surface Transportation Advisory Board and Vehicle Miles Traveled National Pilot Program
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) today asked Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the status of establishing an advisory board, as required by law, on alternative means for sustainably funding the Highway Trust Fund. This board will inform and provide the structure for a new national pilot program to test mileage-based user fees as a replacement for the current motor fuel taxes.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), enacted into law on November 15, 2021, required DOT to form the Federal System Funding Alternative Advisory Board (Advisory Board) no later than 90 days after enactment. The Advisory Board has yet to be formed, well over a year past the date required by Congress.
“The 90-day timeline set forth reflects the urgency felt by both the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure regarding the need to identify a new source of sustainable funding for the Highway Trust Fund (HTF),” said the Chairmen in a letter to the Secretary.
The previous surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, provided grants for states to test road usage charges, also known as Vehicle Miles Traveled fees, as an alternative to the gas tax, and those state pilots have shown significant promise. IIJA included funding for a national pilot, but this pilot is dependent upon the recommendations of the Advisory Board.
“The National pilot program will enable Congress to determine the feasibility of road usage charges as a viable funding source and, if they are, to consider these charges during the debate of the next Surface Transportation authorization bill. We remain concerned that the delay in launching the Advisory Board and the subsequent National pilot program risks preventing the timely development of the data needed for Congress to make an informed decision during that future funding debate,” said Graves and Carper.
“Therefore, we request an update to gain further insight into DOT’s plans for establishing the Advisory Board, as this is an important step to solving the HTF sustainability issue and crucial for fostering economic growth, enhancing mobility, bolstering our supply chain, and preserving the integrity of our Nation’s surface transportation infrastructure system. Please provide this written update as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on August 24, 2023.”
Click here to read the full letter from Chairmen Graves and Carper.