Using User Fees for Infrastructure | Beaufort County Now | If you watched last week’s Shaftesbury Society meeting, you heard Cato Institute transportation expert Randal O’Toole’s recommendation that North Carolina rely more on user fees to meet its transportation needs.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Mitch Kokai.

    If you watched last week's Shaftesbury Society meeting, you heard Cato Institute transportation expert Randal O'Toole's recommendation that North Carolina rely more on user fees to meet its transportation needs.

    Kyle Pomerleau of the American Enterprise Institute makes a similar case for infrastructure projects in general.

  • Lawmakers are currently negotiating the details of an infrastructure package. Lawmakers want to avoid adding significantly to the debt but are split on the best method to raise revenue for the new spending. The Biden administration and the Democrats want to raise taxes on corporations. The Republicans, however, are unwilling to raise corporate income taxes and have suggested raising "user fees" to fund the new spending. The Republican suggestion, in principle, has merit.
  • User fees, or more generally, "user charges" are taxes or fees that individuals or businesses pay related to a benefit they receive from the government. This includes fees paid to the government to defer the cost of a service or a tax connected to the use of public goods.
  • Federal, state, and local governments currently fund much of US infrastructure with user charges. The federal government provides funding to state and local governments for highways through the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). The HTF receives dedicated revenue primarily from the excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. Airport infrastructure is funded in a similar way through the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which receives revenue through several taxes and fees on airline tickets. States levy their own excise taxes on fuel to help fund infrastructure.
  • User charges are a fair way to distribute the cost of infrastructure. User charges conform to what is called the "benefit principle." This principle states that the taxes and fees one pays for government benefits should be connected to the benefits one receives. In the case of highways, the consumption of gasoline has traditionally corresponded to use of roads, so a tax on each gallon of gasoline was seen as a fair way to have those that use roads contribute to their construction and upkeep.

Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

This past week 97.7% of people in NC were estimated to pose no threat of passing along COVID-19 to anyone.
The World, the "President's" constituents, and America's patriots got a full on dose of something not witnessed in my lifetime - the roadmap for the dissolution of a presidency, and as intellectually frail as it might have appeared, it is now in the pronounced period of dénouement.
North Carolina election officials put identifying marks on mail and early ballots
Wonder what those money are carrying to expose people to
The suspect who took several people hostage in a Texas synagogue on Saturday is reportedly dead and all hostages are safe.
The Democrat-dominated Buncombe County Board of Commissioners wants to join the legal fight against North Carolina’s new election maps.
The White House appeared to cut out remarks made by a reporter during Friday’s press briefing from the administration’s official transcript of the event.


Governor Cooper cautioned people to stay home today and stay safe, as most roads remain snow and ice covered, and thousands of homes and businesses in some coastal counties are without power.
Law enforcement officials in Texas are negotiating with a man who has allegedly taken hostages during services at a synagogue in Colleyville, which is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Governor Roy Cooper and state officials are advising residents to not let their guard down
The family of Gabby Petito will say in a “60 Minutes” interview set to air Sunday that they believe Brian Laundrie’s parents know where he is.
White fragility. Equitable math. The invisible knapsack. These critical theory terms and practices are now common in North Carolina’s public K-12 schools.
The death of a democratic republic is not a new possibility; it has happened before in the pantheon of World history, and it can happen again; but, who will be to blame?
My previous research brief discussed that last year Gov. Roy Cooper pledged over $1.3 billion in corporate welfare to just 58 corporations from state “economic development” incentives programs whose stated purposes are about “job creation.”
President Joe Biden has had a terrible few months, with numerous aspects of his agenda getting blocked in congress by even members of his own party.


Hang onto your seats, everyone. Tired of your grocery bill going up and up each week?
Since at least October 2020, we have been trying to find out how many of North Carolina’s Covid-19 hospitalizations were for people whose Covid infection was so bad that it put them in the hospital
I see that Ernie had a fund raiser in Bath Saturday night that was well attended by his staff and a few other people.
Larry Summers warned in an interview this week that the U.S. is moving toward “higher entrenched inflation.”


Back to Top