Member Briefing: June 8, 2021

In light of this week’s legislative committee on highway funding, and in true “let’s get moving” fashion, we have accelerated our weekly ‘Thursday Thoughts at 3’ blog and Friday’s weekly member briefing (below) to Tuesday.

What’s most important, what can we live with?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to represent the regional business community at the NC TEN Commission at the General Assembly. Kudos to NC Senator Vickie Sawyer for organizing the entire event.

I participated in the “Registration/User Fees Working Group” where I spoke of both the potential and the limitations of an “access user fee.” We also discussed other potential options including a hybrid fee and an increased electric vehicle fee — which are simply targeted access fees — along with a possible vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee, which would be a travel-based revenue measure, similar to the motor fuels tax we have today. We also discussed retaining the motor fuels tax for an indefinite period of time.

Each of the partners in my working group were thoughtful, passionate, knowledgeable, and caring about the future of the state. There was no consensus that emerged, other than giving consumers a choice among options would make any solution or package of solutions more palatable.

We are honest brokers at your neighborhood RTA, so I included several of the reasons not to do an access fee — or at least its inherent limitations — in an example one pager I distributed to the group.

To be clear, when it comes to policy choices, there is rarely a “correct” answer — it comes down to what you want, what your top goals are, and what you can live with.

When it comes to modernizing transportation, RTA’s overall objective is sufficient, predictable, and steadily growing revenue for NCDOT to ensure consistent, effective delivery of multimodal projects in our region and state. 

We continue to support the access fee, and we will support any modification of an access fee-based program necessary for support, acceptability, and passage — as long as it is fair, acceptable, effective, and resilient.

Read more in today’s blog; thank you for your continued engagement!

Let’s get moving,

Joe Milazzo II, PE
RTA Executive Director

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