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December 2013 Policy Study, Number 13-10


Fuel Tax:  What Is a Fair System for Iowa?


Freight Financing Strategies



Currently in the United States freight transportation is a growing concern:


According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, trucks haul about 65 percent of the freight value, 58 percent of freight tonnage, and 32 percent of the ton-miles of total shipments. In most U.S. metropolitan regions, freight trucks represent close to 10 percent of roadway vehicles. Measured in tons, railroads carry approximately 30 percent of intercity freight and 47 percent of U.S. freight in ton-miles.[42]


Freight demand is also expected to increase by 92 percent by the year 2035.[43] With this concern states have to come up with a way to deal with the impact these trucks have on the roadways:


States can use several options to upgrade and improve their capacity to move freight. For instance, some federal loan programs specifically target freight finance. Additionally, states can consider increased use of PPPs and increased freight-focused user fees. These options mirror those discussed earlier, but are modified for freight. In addition, some states are examining the potential for truck-only lanes or roads to facilitate freight movement while reducing freight-related congestion on roads and highways.[44]


There is much concern over the damage trucks transporting freight do to the road compared with the damage of cars. “The U.S. Department of Transportation in its most recent Highway Cost Allocation Study estimated that light single-unit trucks, operating at less than 25,000 pounds, pay 150 percent of their road costs while the heaviest tractor-trailer combination trucks, weighing over 100,000 pounds, pay only 50 percent of their road costs.”[45] Therefore it is important to encourage shipping of freight in other modes of travel and making sure that when heavy trucks are used they pay their fair share of the road repair fund.




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