Direct User Charges

Transportation agencies are considering alternative sources of highway revenue to help build new and maintain existing highways. This article describes one alternative, direct user charges (DUCs). These are fees that are charged directly to users of specific highway facilities that pay for the development, operations and preservation of highway facilities. The article specifically addresses the purpose of DUCs, use and regulation of DUC revenues, authority for program functions, private- and public-sector roles and responsibilities, mixing traditional tax and DUC revenues, user equity, public acceptance, and cultural differences within agencies. The introduction of DUCs creates both opportunities and challenges for state departments of transportation (DOTs). Two of the issues involve the state's view of the purpose of tolling highways and of how DUC funds should be used. Another issue involves the major difference in the way that tolling entities operate compared with state DOTs in terms of mission, goals, business practices, culture, organization and financial constraints. The applicability and transferability of toll authority conventions to state and local transportation agencies also needs to be considered. State DOTs considering DUCs can draw on lessons learned from transportation organizations that are already using alternative funding approaches.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01010515
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 6 2005 11:52PM