Financing Transportation Networks

Financing Transportation Networks

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

David M. Levinson

Pollution, alternative fuels, congestion, intelligent transportation systems, and the shift from construction to maintenance all call for a reconsideration of the existing highway revenue mechanisms, especially the gas tax. David Levinson explores the fundamental theoretical basis of highway finance, in particular the use of tolls, and supports that theory with empirical evidence. The author examines highway finance from the perspective of individual jurisdictions and travellers, and considers their interactions rather than specifying a single optimal solution. Congestion pricing has long been a goal of transportation economists, who believe it will result in a more efficient use of resources. Levinson argues that if the governance were to become more decentralized, and collection costs continue to drop, tolls could return to prominence as the preferred means of financing roads for both local and intercity travel. An approach that creates the local winners necessary to implement road pricing is required before it can be expected to become widespread.


David M. Levinson

Subjects: economics and finance, public finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


U This book is based in part on my doctoral dissertation On Whonz the Toll Falls completed in 1998. That work was greatly aided by my committee, ably chaired by Mark Hansen, and including Carlos Daganzo, David Gillen, and Betty Deakin. In addition, Adib Kanafani (along with David Gillen) was a co-author on the “full costs” research on which Chapter 3 is based, and Elva Chang was a co-author on the electronic toll collection report on which Chapter 12 is based. In addition to those named above, the book was further informed by helpful comments from numerous individuals who read previous drafts of parts of this work, or listened to presentations. I would like to thank the following individuals for their comments and ideas: Gary Barnes, Marcus Berliant, Ken Button, Trinh Carpenter, Joy Dahlgren, Robert Forsythe, Todd Goldman, Phi1 Goetz, Kingsley Haynes, Yuanlin Huang, Shara Lynn Kelsey, Daniel Klein, John Lalos, Robin Lindsey, Lars Lundquist, Adrian Moore, John Quigley, Gabriel Roth, Steve Shladover, Steve Schmanske, Bill Stone, Roger Stough, Erik Verhoef, Marty Wachs, Me1 Webber, Tara Weidner, and Stein Weissenberger. I also want to thank students of my Transportation Economics and Transportation Systems Analysis classes who helped discuss earlier drafts of the book, in particular: Ravi-Praveen Ambadipudi, Rabinder Bains, Shantanu Das, Sujay Davuluri, John Hourdakis, Sesh Kanchi, Ramachandra K ara m a 1a p u t i , J ij i K ot t o mm an n i 1, S at y an ar a y an a Mu t...

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