Category Archives: News

D’Artagnan Wins Specialist Consulting Services Contract for Main Roads Western Australia Heavy Vehicle Charge Project

For Immediate Release

Effort provides worldwide best practices for policy development and project implementation for Western Australia’s first heavy vehicle charge project

Reston, VA — August 21, 2015. D’Artagnan has been awarded a contract to support Main Roads Western Australia introducing a Heavy Vehicle Charge (HVC) on a 50-mile (85-km) freight route between Fremantle Port and Perth’s strategic industrial areas. The Perth Freight Link project provides a free flowing, fully grade separated, high productivity freight roadway connection for light and heavy vehicles; and is the largest infrastructure investment in Western Australia totaling over A$1.6 billion dollars ($1.1 billion). The project will introduce a distance-based user charge on heavy vehicles over 4.5 tons and generate revenue to repay a portion of the capital costs of the project (with the rest being provided by State and Federal contributions), and provide a sustainable source of funds to maintain and renew the corridor while providing funds for other projects to enhance road freight productivity. D’Artagnan is supporting Main Roads Western Australia’s Heavy Vehicle Charge project by initially providing a report on worldwide best practice for road charging. This report brings together experience of jurisdictions around the world in implementing similar systems. The nature and scope of the Perth Freight Link Heavy Vehicle Charge project is similar to systems developed for projects of a larger in network scale such that the principles and issues remain the same.

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State's biggest companies say taxes are part of the answer to transportation needs

Allen Young
Staff Writer
Sacramento Business Journal

California’s largest corporations have a clear message for Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature: Now is the time to raise taxes and other revenue to repair California’s roads. Failure to act will hurt business. “Infrastructure is everything for our economy,” said Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable. “We need a solution.”

The trade group, which represents Chevron, Sempra Energy and 25 other major employers, normally opposes taxes. But earlier this month, the roundtable joined forces with the California Chamber of Commerce and organized labor to promote a plan that would raise $6 billion for infrastructure. The plan calls for a mix road-related driver fees and for funneling existing tax dollars into roads, highways and bridges.

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Governor wants bipartisan fix for state highway repairs

By Rachel Swan and John Wildermuth Updated 11:09 am, Saturday, August 22, 2015.

Filling car-shaking potholes and repairing crumbling highways and bridges shouldn’t be a partisan issue, Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday.

Joined by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, Brown used a news conference at the Port of Oakland to urge the Legislature’s Republicans and Democrats to work together in a special session he called to find a long-term answer to California’s continuing lack of cash for highway and infrastructure repairs.

“Nothing could be more obvious than roads full of potholes, than congestion that you sit through for hours,” the governor said, arguing that efficient transportation is key to the state’s economic prosperity.

But California’s current gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1994, only brings in $2.3 billion a year for repair work, billions short of what state officials say is needed. Compounded over the years, that’s left tens of billions of dollars in deferred maintenance, Brown said.

The gap is only going to get worse. As fuel efficiency increases and more electric and hybrid cars hit the road, gas sales will drop and tax revenue will fall with them.

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Pay as you go

Pay as you go. Could the next great funding scheme ever really work?

By LIISA ECOLA

America has a lot of ways to pay for its roads. For generations the main one has been charging drivers a gas tax; there are also local bonds, sales taxes, and the various budget maneuvers that Congress comes up with every time it runs out of federal highway money.

But if you ask transportation wonks how we should really pay for our roads, one idea keeps coming up, over and over: A per-mile fee.

In the acronym-happy world of transportation it’s called VMT, for “vehicle miles traveled,” and the notion is very simple: drivers pay some kind of tax based on how much they use the roads. If you drive a lot, you exert wear-and-tear on the roads, so you pay more.

For generations, the gas tax has been a rough approximation of a mileage fee: your gas consumption more or less indicates how much you drive. But now that’s changing, and the gas tax doesn’t always amount to a fair distribution of the cost burden. People with high miles-per-gallon vehicles pay far less than drivers of other cars, for example, even though both may impose equal burdens on the infrastructure. And in most states, if you are one of the growing group of drivers owning an electric vehicle, you pay nothing at all toward maintaining the roads. This shift to no-MPG vehicles is great for energy conservation and the environment, but it also means that some pay less than their fair share of the costs of building and maintaining the roads on which they drive.

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No mileage tracking in California road tax plan

The gas tax is over

Survey: POLITICO’s transportation experts think we’ll pay for roads with a mileage scheme. They’re tired of “photo ops and gimmicks” instead of policy. And they like to walk.

By DANNY VINIK

As the House and Senate squabble over a way to pay for road projects and avoid the looming “highway cliff” this week, America’s transportation experts think it’s high time for Washington to take up a much bigger challenge: Rebuilding our national transportation strategy from the ground up, and finding a smart new source of money to pay for it.

With transportation-funding crises now a regular event on the Washington calendar, and Congress seemingly unable to come up with a long-term solution, The Agenda turned to a carefully selected list of more nearly three dozen leaders and experts across the public and private spheres to ask whether there was a better way for the nation to handle its crucial roads, rail, and other infrastructure.

Nearly 90 percent said the federal government should continue to play a significant role in funding highway construction, as it does now.

But when it came to what the role was – and how to pay for it – they agreed that big changes were in order. The gas tax, our main source of highway money since the 1950s, is probably doomed: Less than half believed it would still supply most of our infrastructure funding in 15 years. A third think it might never be increased again. And almost no one thought it was the best way to pay for roads.

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Congress Should Look Beyond the Gas Tax

By THE EDITORIAL BOARDAUG. 1, 2015

Lawmakers in Washington are so scared of raising the inadequate federal gas tax that they keep passing short-term bills to move money from other taxes to fund transportation projects. They should develop the kind of courage legislatures in red states like Utah, Nebraska and South Dakota have shown and raise the gas tax.

But even the gas tax will eventually become ineffective at raising sufficient money for road and mass transit systems. That’s because as Americans increasingly buy more efficient hybrid and all-electric cars, they will use much less gasoline and diesel. Congress thus needs to consider proposals for putting fees on the number of miles people drive on public roads.

One such worthy proposal comes from Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrat of Oregon, who has been the most persistent proponent of increasing the 18.4-cent a gallon excise tax on gasoline and 24.4 cent a gallon tax on diesel — and eventually replacing that tax with a miles-driven fee by 2024.

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Oregon Test Drives Gas Tax Hike Based on Mileage

Posted: Jul 02, 2015 8:10 PM PDT
Updated: Jul 05, 2015 8:10 PM PDT
By Kassandra Sepeda, News ReporterCONNECT

The growing popularity of electric and hybrids cars may be taking a bite out of pollution but it’s also eating away at the revenues states raise through their gasoline tax.

Now, Oregon is piloting a program that would tax drivers by mileage, but parts of the program are raising some serious concerns.

David Hastings is a rare American. This long-time hybrid car owner from Oregon “wants” to pay higher taxes for roads and bridges. The 30-cents per gallon state gas tax barely affects him.

Hastings explains, “I’ve been free-loading on the highways for 20 years driving electric cars or hybrid cars.”
Now, Hastings will pay more thanks to Orego, which is the first pay-by-the-mile program in the U.S.

Oregon’s department of transportation has been working on it for 15 years as a way to eventually replace the gas tax which has been flat due to an influx of high mileage vehicles and people driving less.

Tom Fuller with the Oregon Dept. of Transportation says, “We’re trying to make up for a growing deficit, really, because inflation’s eating away at our ability to buy asphalt.”

According to a national usage fee alliance, 28 states are in various stages of following down the same road.

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Legislators focus on potholes, none too soon

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
At Gov. Jerry Brown’s urging, California lawmakers have embarked on a mission to develop long-lasting solutions to improve freeways, rebuild bridges, repave rutted roads, fill potholes and expand public transit.

None too soon. For the foreseeable future, Californians will remain dependent on cars to get to work and for weekend getaways. For the economy’s sake, trucks must move efficiently in and out of the parts of Oakland, Los Angeles and Long Beach, among the nation’s busiest.

Whatever solutions, motorists will end up paying more. That is not bad. People who use roads should pay for them.

California Transportation Secretary Brian P. Kelly told a Senate committee last week that there is a $5.7 billion annual gap between road and highway funding and the need for maintenance and construction. Something must give.

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ODOT launches pioneering per-mile road use charge program

OreGO participants pay 1.5 cents per mile, get gas-tax credit
From KTVZ.COM news sources

State officials and private partners kicked off Oregon’s new pay-by-the-mile road usage charge program, OReGO, on Wednesday, welcoming drivers to enroll online.

“The doors are now open for Oregonians to enroll their vehicles and test-drive OReGO statewide,” said Vicki Berger, chair of Oregon’s Road User Fee Task Force, and a former member of the Oregon House who helped pass legislation creating Oregon’s new road usage charge program in 2013.

OReGO participants will pay 1.5 cents per mile while driving in Oregon, and receive a credit on their bill for state gas tax paid at the pump. OReGO is currently limited to 5,000 vehicles statewide. ODOT is asking participants for feedback and suggestions for improving OReGO along the way.

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