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AASHTO Journal

Transportation Analysts Critique House <br>Proposal to Expand Oil & Gas Drilling
The Competitive Enterprise Institute held a briefing Monday on Capitol Hill to stress the importance of preserving the "user-pays/user-benefits principle" for federal transportation funding. Speakers said any attempt to tie infrastructure funding to energy production expansion could threaten the future stability of the nation's transportation system.

Panelists included transportation policy analysts from various organizations, all of whom discussed the problems associated with a House of Representatives proposal to include oil and gas drilling as a funding source for the Highway Trust Fund. (see related story) Monday's briefing, "Don't Drill and Drive: Weakening the 'User-Pays' Highway Funding Principle Would Endanger Our Nation's Transportation Infrastructure," was held by CEI in partnership with the Reason Foundation, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and Natural Resources Defense Council.

CEI argues that the user-pays/user-benefits principle has worked to generate revenue best because of its:

  • Fairness (highway users benefit from improvements their user taxes produce);
  • Proportionality (users who drive more pay more);
  • Funding predictability (highway use, and consequently highway user revenues, does not show much short-run fluctuation); and
  • Signaling investment (revenue tracks use, showing policymakers how much investment is needed to maintain and expand infrastructure).

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