Last week we learned that Pennsylvania will see its first Vehicle Miles Traveled pilot program next year. With Delaware as the other pilot partner, it is designed to show how charging user fees based on mileage would work across state borders.

The I-95 Corridor Coalition, a multi-state transportation partnership, was awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to fund the three-month pilot. Coalition officials hope to start with 50 vehicles and expand it to several hundred.

For years, transportation experts have noted that fuel taxes, which are based on consumption, are becoming a less reflective indicator of the proportion of wear and tear that each vehicle causes to roads and bridges. National energy policies have pushed vehicle makers toward consuming less petroleum, and hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles are making inroads into the market.

A system that would calculate user fees based on vehicle weight and miles traveled would more accurately and fairly assign responsibility for wear and tear.

Transportation Issue Update

  • A three-month Vehicle Miles Traveled pilot program is scheduled to begin next year in Pennsylvania and Delaware, initially with 50 vehicles.
  • A Vanderbilt University professor had some interesting thoughts on what the U.S. needs to do to remain competitive when it comes to infrastructure.
  • Governing Magazine cited the turnpike as an innovative role model for public-private partnerships that remains relevant today.
  • Drivers who travel the Turnpike through Lackawanna County and northern Luzerne County should have a quicker ride starting next spring as the turnpike commission unveils cashless tolling at toll plazas.
  • Michigan’s Kettering University has joined the multi-state consortium of universities, government agencies and advocacy groups in the Smart Belt Coalition, a collaboration that aims to help shape and inform the ongoing development of autonomous vehicles. (Pennsylvania’s members are PennDOT, the Turnpike Commission and Carnegie Mellon University.)