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Reagan Devolution- The Real Story of the 1982 Gas Tax Increase

Federal transportation policy in the U.S. has been struggling with a funding crisis for over a decade. Though our Highway Trust Fund (HTF) did not actually require a general fund bailout until 2008, there were concerns about insufficient funding and the need for a gas tax increase to support the program as early as 2002. Congress created two commissions, trade associations launched lobbying efforts, and think-tanks like Eno churned out reports. Yet despite all of these efforts, Congress continues to be in the same place it has been all of that time – unable to increase the gas tax, unable to cut transportation funding, and bailing out the HTF on a regular basis. In all of the analysis that has been done on this issue, it is difficult to avoid the hard fact that transportation is not an issue that generates widespread public demand for tax increases. In fact, there has not been an increase in the gas tax exclusively for the purpose of funding transportation since 1982...


Freight Infrastructure Issues in Surface Transportation Reauthorization

Goods movement has increased substantially over the past few decades as the economy and global trade have expanded. Freight transportation demand in tandem with passenger-side demand has caused congestion in many parts of the transportation system, resulting in slower and less reliable freight movement. Also, the condition and performance of freight infrastructure play considerable roles in the efficiency of the freight system and, therefore, are likely to be of significant congressional concern in the reauthorization of the surface transportation program that is currently authorized through May 31, 2015. There is no specific federal freight transportation program. Instead, the federal government supports freight infrastructure through several programs that promote both passenger and freight mobility. The most important of these are four of the five “core” programs of the federal-aid highway program, which together account for roughly 90% of highway spending. One of those five pro


The impact on the US economy of changes in wait times at ports of entry

Inspections of people and vehicles at US border crossings are vital to homeland security and preventing unauthorized movement of people and freight into the US interior. However, these inspections incur various costs, including imposing delays on legitimate traffic and increasing expenditures to operate the crossings. In this study, we quantify the economic impacts of delays related to movement of passenger and commercial vehicles across 17 major land border crossings and international air travelers’ at 4 major US airports. We estimate the value of time spent in these delays, and how this changes if one inspection officer is added to each crossing’s staff. We quantify how the transportation cost of shipping goods by truck into the US changes if wait time falls, and use the GTAP CGE model to estimate the changes in macroeconomic activity in the US, Canada, and Mexico caused by the decrease in transportation costs. We also determine how many new cross-border passenger–vehicle trips resul