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Today’s Pickup: Libertarian group pushes toll-financing infrastructure plan

Good day,

A Reason Foundation study released this week argues for both a private sector plan to rebuild the nation’s crumbling highways and the need to transition from per-gallon fuel taxes to per-mile highway user charges.

The libertarian group lists several states with toll-financed programs underway and offers suggestions as to how to make these strategies palatable for policy makers, motorists and truckers. Its central theme is that an electronically-collected per-mile toll is a mileage-based user fee that already enjoys wide public acceptance.

The study advises that in the 2020 surface transportation reauthorization law, Congress create a voluntary program in which states agree to configure tolls as per-mile charges. States would have to commit to using the revenues solely to operate and maintain the nation’s highways.

Did you know?

Seven of the eight Chinese autonomous vehicle companies currently testing in Beijing are also testing in California and have headquarters based in Silicon Valley. Tencent, the Chinese conglomerate, has yet to obtain a California testing permit but is building a research team in Palo Alto.

Mashable, referring to a first-ever city report on AV testing in Beijing

Quotable

“America’s bridge network is outdated, underfunded and in urgent need of modernization. State and local governments just haven’t been given the necessary resources to get the job done.”

Alison Premo Black, chief economist for the.American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ATRBA), quoted in FreightWaves

In other news

Boeing in the hot seat

The airplane manufacturer may have bad days ahead with the 737 MAX investigation. (SeattleTimes)

Singapore’s biggest online mall fights Alibaba with blockchain

Ku Young Bae says the distributed ledger technology will help his company, Qoo10, expand in Southeast Asia. (Bloomberg)

Newcomers to the 2019 Midas List: Who cracked the ranks of best VCs in the world

China played an even bigger role in getting new names on the Midas List. (Forbes)

Nigerian logistics startup wins “Disrupter of the Year” award during Africa CEO forum

The year-old startup connects truck owners with producers and distributors with long haul trips. (Venturesafrica)

Tel Aviv venture firm New Era Capital raises a $60 million fund

The firm focuses on startups touting positive environmental and social impact. (Calcalistech)

Final thoughts

Bus-hailing startups are so clearly the wave of the future. Roadways are crowded, air pollution is spreading and ride-hailing companies are already diversifying into other modes like bike and scooter sharing. The sector got off to a rocky start in the U.S., what with Ford selling San Francisco bus startup Chariot last year. But the market is already surging in the Middle East and India, with Uber among the players amping up on-demand shuttle service in Egypt. And as U.S. cities densify, and tools like congestion pricing take off, it’s only a matter of time before the app-based bus startups go on a growth tear. Public transit agencies – you’ve been warned.

Hammer down, everyone!

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Linda Baker, Staff Writer

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves staff reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes early-stage VC, freight-tech, mobility and West Coast emissions regulations.

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