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User Fee Proposal a Huge Leap


MSHAJuly 29, 2011 – Well, the first revolutionary idea in quite a while for funding highway construction has come down the road. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers released a revenue-neutral solution to rebuild and modernize America’s interstates without raising the gas tax.

The proposal, advanced by AEM in an ongoing effort to reinvigorate the stalled debate on infrastructure investment financing, was developed by Jack Schenendorf, former vice chairman of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP; and Elizabeth Bell, Associate, Covington & Burling LLP. All vehicles using the Interstate Highway System would pay a user fee. The fee would be collected through an “EZ Pass”-like system, which would be entirely electronic. There would be no tollbooths. My question is, what would the outcry be over such a required fee; how would users pay into it; and how would it be enforced?