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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Federal Road Charge Tax Administration Process

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The gasoline tax is one of the primary sources of revenue for transportation infrastructure funding. However, recent revenue shortfalls due to a combination of inflation, fuel efficiency improvements, and vehicle electrification have led to discussions of alternative funding mechanisms such as the road user charge where drivers would pay fees by miles driven rather than gallons consumed. In this report, researchers investigate the institutional structure of the current gasoline tax at the federal level including historical changes, how the tax is collected, and how it is allocated and disbursed to fund infrastructure projects. In outlining the structure of the current gasoline tax, they identify key opportunities for a road user charge to be integrated into the current funding system. These include considerations for tax evasion, simplification of state level allocated disbursement formulas, re-allocation of funds, and designating spending for fuel-specific infrastructure.

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