Money for nothing? How to make better use of our transportation dollars.

Our country can’t address the challenges of the 21st century with a transportation finance system created in the horse-and-buggy era.

On March 2, U.S. PIRG Education Fund released “Shifting Gears,” a report examining the failure of America’s outdated transportation finance system. Gas taxes and other fees on drivers have not kept up with inflation or the rising costs of roadbuilding — meaning that funding for cleaner and more sustainable options like transit or biking infrastructure is often sacrificed in favor of more wasteful road expansions.

“One of the most persistent fallacies underpinning U.S. transportation policy is that roads pay for themselves,” said Matt Casale, director of PIRG’s environment and transportation campaigns. “But that hasn’t been true for a long time. This ‘user fee’ system of funding was designed to facilitate the construction of high-quality roads when there were few of them.”

“We need a new system for an era of new technologies and new challenges.”

Read more.

Check out the report.

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Photo: A “fix-it-first” approach to transportation infrastructure spending, combined with a focus on improving transit, walking and biking options, will make our streets safer, our air cleaner and our transportation system more efficient for everyone. Credit: Connel via Shutterstock

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Aaron Colonnese

Content Creator, Editorial & Creative Team, The Public Interest Network

Aaron writes and designs materials with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network for U.S. PIRG. Aaron lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spends his spare time playing drums and going for long walks.

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