Chart of the Day: Road Funding by Source

Via the Strong Towns Podcast, here’s a chart from a report called “Who Pays for Roads?” by a public policy think tank called The Frontier Group.

Note that this shows all levels of government:


Here’s what the report says about the chart:

By the early 2010s, road user fees accounted for less than half of current highway expenses. Just over 10 percent of highway spending came from bond revenues and the rest from general taxpayers and other non-user sources of revenue.  In 2012, taxes and fees paid by general taxpayers provided $69 billion in funding for highways nationwide, an average household burden of $597 per household per year. Local governments accounted for $47 billion of that spending. The federal government added $6 billion in non-user revenue, most of it in the form of general fund allocations intended to patch holes in the Highway Trust Fund, while state governments spent an additional $15.6 billion in revenue from sources other than highway users.

As the authors describe, there’s a myth out there that roads are paid for by gas taxes and other drivers’ fees. (Many states, including Minnesota, constitutionally dedicate those funds specifically for road costs.) The truth is that things have been changing. For some time now, the majority of road costs have come from general tax revenue and borrowing.

Check out the rest of the detailed report on the subject.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.