February 24, 2012

Paying for the Roads, Buses, and Bike Paths of the Future: A Framework for Evaluating Transportation Tax and Fee Options and Assessment of Some New (and Old) Options


Dr. Asha Weinstein Agrawal, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Director, MTI National Transportation Finance Center, San Jose State University


It is widely acknowledged among transportation professionals that the current U.S. method of funding transportation infrastructure and services no longer raises the revenues that allow us to pay for the top-notch system we desire to support individual and commercial accessibility. This presentation begins by laying out the main funding options under active discussion and a framework for evaluating the pros and cons of these different funding options according to six criteria: (1) revenue generation, (2) ease of implementation, (3) transportation system performance, (4) equity, (5) political feasibility, and (6) promotion of interlinked public policy goals (such as environmental sustainability). Next, we will explore how several revenue generation options fare under some of these criteria, with a special focus on the last two criteria. Specific research projects to be discussed include several California-wide and national surveys of public opinion on transportation funding options as well as a study exploring the interaction between mileage fees and land-use patterns in a pilot program conducted in Oregon in 2006-07.

Biographical Sketch

Asha Weinstein Agrawal is the Director of the MTI National Transportation  Finance Center and also Chair and Associate Professor of Urban and Regional  Planning at San José State University. Her research and teaching interests in  transportation policy and planning include transportation finance, pedestrian planning,  and urban street design. She also works in the area of planning and  transportation history. She has a B.A. from Harvard University in Folklore and  Mythology, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science  in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Ph.D. from the University of California,  Berkeley in City and Regional Planning. For a complete listing of her  publications, see http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/weinstein.agrawal/.