DRAFT version. April 14, 2011.
Prepared for Leonard University Transportation Center, California State Uuniversity, San Bernardino.
With aging infrastructure and declining purchasing power of tax receipts new mechanisms of financing transportation alternatives are gaining increasing interest. Fuel taxes are and have been for some time the primary source of transportation finance in United States. Fuel taxes are fixed amounts that rarely change and which lose purchasing power over time as prices escalate. In addition, improvements in fuel economy can further erode the revenue stream from the gas tax. This study explores the public’s attitude about user based fees collected through tolls that are directed at specific infrastructure projects using the Inland Empire region of California as a case study. The premise of this research is that tolls can complement existing funding sources for improving infrastructure.
Public perception of such directed user based fees as tolls has traditionally been considered a barrier in the wide scale implementation of these financing mechanisms. However, according to a recent publication from National Cooperative Highway Research Program, public perception of user based fees may not be as negative as once thought (Zmud, 2008). This study identified and addressed the research need for a framework to assess the general public’s perception of user-based fees and tolls as instruments of transportation finance.
Civil and Environmental Engineering