Technology provider EROAD is joining a multi-state $1.6 million pilot test of a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) system that will kick off next year along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S.
The I-95 Corridor Coalition truck pilot program will include 50 vehicles equipped with EROAD in-vehicle hardware for a period of six months; technology that will record mileage data and apply applicable formulas for a truck-based MBUF as prescribed by the program’s steering committee, which includes the American Trucking Associations (ATA) among others. EROAD said it will also produce “dummy invoices” to help demonstrate how payments would be made to the “appropriate agencies” within the I-95 Corridor Coalition.
The I-95 Corridor Coalition is a partnership of transportation agencies, toll authorities, public safety officials, and related organizations along the East Coast and is partially funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Funding Alternatives program, which was established to explore “alternative mechanisms” for accumulating road funding in lieu fuel taxes.
The pilot test area, encompassing Maine to Florida, is a critical freight corridor in the U.S. economy, noted Steven Newman, EROAD’s CEO, with over five billion tons of freight – representing almost 40% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) – moving annually across the area’s 1,917 miles of roads, which represents approximately 20% of all U.S. roadways. Average daily truck traffic in the region includes over 10,000 vehicles with peak daily traffic averaging over 31,000 units, with the amount of truck traffic in the corridor expected to more than double by 2035.
Newman added that this program should help demonstrate a “highly flexible, feasible and cost-effective way” to introduce road user fee charging programs across multiple U.S. jurisdictions “without needing an intrusive and expensive roadside infrastructure, while also reducing the reporting burden on motor carriers.”
As part of this program, the I-95 Corridor Coalition is working with the Delaware Department of Transportation to explore the feasibility of replacing fuel taxes with a mileage-based user fee approach in a multi-state environment.
Patricia Hendren, executive director of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, said trucks were an important component of exploring the feasibility of a mileage-based user fee approach. “Commercial vehicles have a long list of reporting requirements, they are heavy users of the system and they are heavy payers,” she noted. “Our goal is to look at the data that commercial vehicles are currently required to submit and ask ‘within that framework, what would a mileage-based approach look like?’”