The Search for a Sustainable Source of Federal and State Transportation Revenue: Gas taxes or mileage fees?

Lecture | October 27 | 4 p.m. | 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Building

 Asha Weinstein Agrawal, San Jose State University

 Institute of Transportation Studies

For almost a century, gas taxes have generated substantial revenues for building and operating the transportation system, but these user fees are unlikely to keep serving that function as well in the future. This talk will examine the relative benefits of raising the gas tax versus adopting a new "mileage fee." After presenting a policy evaluation framework specific to transportation revenue sources, Professor Agrawal will present a quick sketch analysis of gas taxes and mileage fees. Then, the talk will delve deeper into the questions of political feasibility and public opinion, presenting findings from her original public opinion research on gas taxes and mileage fees, including the results of eight annual national surveys and an NCHRP synthesis study.

Bio: Asha Weinstein Agrawal is Director of MTI’s National Transportation Finance Center at San José State University, and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning (also at SJSU). Her research agenda is guided by a commitment to the principles of sustainability and equity: what planning and policy tools can communities adopt to encourage environmentally-friendly travel and improve accessibility for people struggling with poverty or other disadvantages? She has explored this question most deeply through two substantive areas, transportation finance policy and the travel behavior of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders. She also works in the area of urban history and is currently Chair of the Transportation Research Board’s Committee on Transportation History. Dr. Agrawal earned a B.A. from Harvard University in Folklore and Mythology, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in City and Regional Planning. More information about her work, including publications, is at