The National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) hosted a webinar today about sustainable transportation funding and spending. They discussed that, because the overall value of the state gasoline tax has diminished, small increases implemented by some states still leaves them lagging behind funding needs. Sixteen states have not raised their gasoline taxes in over twenty years, as of April 2014. The issue of the cost of underinvestment is another area of concern.
States currently have a few options to choose from: funding, financing (bonding, borrowing), and efficiency/accountability. In recent years, there have been three main trends with regards to the transportation funding legislation implemented across the country. These successful initiatives have tracked with the economy — in other words, many states have chosen to tie their gasoline taxes to inflation or they have instead replaced the tax with a percentage of the price of gasoline. Today, fifteen states and Washington, D.C. have variable tax rates.