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Share of State & Local Road Spending Covered by Tolls, User Fees, and User Taxes

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This week’s map comes from a report we released earlier this week that looks at how state and local road spending is funded. This map looks specifically at the share of state and local road spending covered by user fees and user taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. es.

As Joseph Henchman explained in his report:

The lion’s share of transportation funding should come from user feeA user fee is a charge imposed by the government for the primary purpose of covering the cost of providing a service, directly raising funds from the people who benefit from the particular public good or service being provided. A user fee is not a tax, though some taxes may be labeled as user fees or closely resemble them. s (amounts a user pays directly for a service the user receives, such as tolls) and user taxes (amounts a user pays, based on usage, for transportation, such as fuel and motor vehicle license taxes). When road funding comes from a mix of tolls and gasoline taxes, the people that use the roads bear a sizeable portion of the cost. By contrast, funding transportation out of general revenue makes roads “free,” and consequently, overused or congested—often the precise problem transportation spending programs are meant to solve.

Delaware comes in first place due to 78.6 percent of its road spending being funded by user fees and user taxes. Hawaii (77.3%) and Florida (68.8%) are close behind. By contrast, Alaska (10.5%), South Dakota (21.5%), Wyoming (24.5%), and Louisiana (25.4) raise little of their transportation spending from user fees and user taxes, instead subsidizing it heavily with general revenues.

All maps and other graphics may be published and reposted with credit to the Tax Foundation.

(Click on the map to enlarge it. View previous maps here.)