Category Archives: News

Oregon’s Key Policy Body on Road Funding Alternatives Recommends Expansion of OReGO to a Mandate in 2025

Reston, VA — September 27, 2016 — Long a key policy body on road funding alternatives, Oregon’s Road User Fee Task Force (RFUTF) took bold action to recommend a substantial mandatory road usage charge to the state legislature. Following the successful launch of OReGO, the state’s voluntary per-mile charge program, in July 2015, the RUFTF embarked upon a year-long study to determine the viability of a mandatory application to a large number of light vehicles. At its September 2016 meeting, the task force determined that sufficient progress had occurred with the OReGO for the state to proceed with a mandatory application.

The financial and economic model prepared by D’Artagnan Consulting proved critical to the success of the analytical process leading to the RUFTF recommendation. “Thanks to the economic model developed by D’Artagnan, Oregon’s Road User Fee Task Force was able to make informed policy decisions and advance a substantial expansion of our RUC initiative to the legislative level,” said Vicki Berger, Chair of the Road User Fee Task Force. Click HERE to access the ODOT press release.

Using a financial and economic model developed by D’Artagnan, the task force developed six options for a mandatory program, evaluating each for financial viability. The model accounted for administrative costs and revenue generation over several decades based upon projections supplied by the Oregon Department of Transportation. ODOT’s economists project that in 2020, the state’s fuel tax will enter a period of steady and steep decline. Since Oregon relies heavily upon the fuel tax for road revenues and maintenance of the road network, the task force recognized that a broad-based alternative must replace fuel tax and proposed a road usage charge for this purpose.

By unanimous vote of members of both political parties, the task force adopted a motion by Craig Campbell of AAA Oregon-Idaho to apply a per-mile charge to all new vehicles with a fuel efficiency rating of 20 miles per gallon or higher beginning in 2025. Given that the model predicts that nearly one million vehicles will enter the program between 2025 and 2030, the RUFTF wanted to give the Oregon DOT adequate time to prepare for the huge influx of vehicles into OReGO. Task Force member and Oregon Senator Chuck Thomsen noted that most of the current legislature will have left office by the time the mandate takes effect.

To keep OReGO at-the-ready for mandate status, the task force recommends that OReGo maintain its voluntary application to light vehicles until 2025, but with removal of the 5,000 vehicle cap. RUFTF also recommends that Oregon DMV provide an opportunity for people registering light vehicles to volunteer for OReGO as part of the process in an effort to bump the level of participation.

Washington State Transportation Commission awards contract to D’Artagnan to prepare a RUC demonstration implementation plan

For Immediate Release

D’Artagnan, Berk and WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff will prepare a Road Usage Charge demonstration implementation plan in preparation for a project slated to start in 2017.

D’Artagnan Consulting has been awarded a contract with the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) to prepare a detailed statewide Road Usage Charge (RUC) demonstration implementation plan in preparation for a project slated to start in 2017.

D’Artagnan is working with Berk Consulting, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff and several DBE firms. The work will entail updating the WSTC body of materials assessing RUC since 2012 that was successfully completed at the direction of the State Legislature. The plan will address unanswered questions that remain through testing and evaluation with the intention of implementing the demonstration in 2017, with legislative approval.

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Jim Whitty joins D’Artagnan

For Immediate Release

After 14 years at the helm of ODOT’s Road Usage Charge program, Jim Whitty has joined D’Artagnan Consulting

Reston, VA — April 5, 2016 — D’Artagnan is pleased to announce that Jim Whitty, former Manager, Office of Innovative Partnerships & Alternative Funding of Oregon’s Department of Transportation, has joined D’Artagnan. Jim has 20 years’ experience advising legislative and executive branch officials and industry leaders on transportation revenue issues and policy development, with special expertise in development of transportation funding and funding alternatives, such as road usage charges, and public private partnership programs. Jim led Oregon’s efforts on road usage charge legislation for 14 years while serving as the administrator of Oregon’s Road User Fee Task Force, an independent policy body that developed cutting edge usage charge funding policies for light vehicles, that led to passage of the nation’s first per mile charge law. Jim crafted and orchestrated two successful per mile charge pilot demonstrations, the RUFPP in 2006-07 and the RUCPP in 2012-13, and the nation’s first operational road usage charge program known as OReGO. Jim Whitty’s experience and knowledge make him a perfect fit for handling strategic marketing and vision for D’Artagnan’s national and international programs.

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Drivers sought to plot road charges

CREDIT: Luke Money, Santa Clarita Valley Signal, February 2016

California official seeking volunteers for RC pilot, to seek information on whether it makes sense to replace gas tax with distance or time based charges. Quote from Steve Finnegan about sustainability of gas tax. Descriptive of pilot. Victor Lindenheim of Golden State Gateway Coalition approves of pilot. Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean has “very deep concerns” that it is “just another tax”.

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State explores swap for gas tax

CREDIT: Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, San Francisco Examiner, February 2016

California official foresee a time when gas tax is replaced by paying tax by mile. Pilot starting 1 July. Michelle Beaulieu, a transportation planner at the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, briefed the authority’s board on the program at City Hall Tuesday morning. Judson True, aide to Assemblyman David Chiu says gas tax “won’t cut it” for medium to long term. Range of models being looked at, with range of environments and vehicle types. Supervisor Jane Kim wonders if it will penalize environmentally friendly vehicles.

Link to article

We need a gas tax replacement

CREDIT: Lucy Dunn, Orange County Register, January 2016

Lucy Dunn responds to a Jan. 28 editorial in the O.C. Register. She writes that in its editorial “Going down wrong road on gas taxes,” the O.C. Register didn’t just choose the “wrong road,” but a path to a fiscal cliff. She outlined the need for a road charge and invites others to do as she has and sign up to be a test volunteer.

Link to article

Western Road Usage Charge Consortium Awards Road Usage Charge Roadmap to D’Artagnan

For Immediate Release

Eleven states will collaborate to study and adapt best practices from
successful road usage charge efforts around the globe

Reston, VA — January 28, 2016 — The Western Road Usage Charge Consortium (WRUCC) has awarded a contract to D’Artagnan to develop a roadmap for states to consider road usage charges. In recent years, road usage charging (RUC), has grown in popularity among state government officials in search of long-term solutions to address declining gas tax revenues. However, there is no known resource that synthesizes prior efforts to study or implement RUC, examines their effectiveness, or translates these experiences into lessons learned. The D’Artagnan Team will draw on its extensive work supporting RUC efforts globally to provide a comprehensive analysis of past experiences, successes,
failures, and lessons learned to assist nascent efforts to formulate distance based charging strategies. Eleven WRUCC member states will participate in the study, whose outputs will include a synthesis report of policy development approaches and processes. In addition, D’Artagnan will create and customize a decision tool for agencies and policy makers to utilize in guiding the development of RUC policies in their own jurisdictions.

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