The Kansas Department of Transportation on Oct. 14 launched a statewide survey to learn what Kansans think about how highways and bridges are funded. The survey is available on the project webpage at ksdotike.org/RUC-study and will be open through Nov. 24. It takes roughly five minutes to complete.
The survey is the first step in a Midwest Road Usage Charge (RUC) Study being led by KDOT. Kansas is the first DOT to engage drivers to help design a local RUC pilot. The study will focus on identifying how a RUC system that reflects unique Midwestern values and needs could fund transportation investments.
Kansas roads and bridges are funded primarily by motor fuel tax revenues, the taxes paid at the pump. This funding continues to decline with the increased number of electric and hybrid vehicles and as people drive fewer miles. A recent KDOT study indicates by 2045, the state's transportation system could rely on sales taxes for 60 percent of revenue, which is not likely to be sustainable.
This is a nationwide issue, but to date, the discussion on how a RUC could work has been primarily led by research on the east and west coasts. KDOT's RUC Study is the first major pilot to bring a local, Midwest perspective to this important discussion.
"It's important we bring a Midwest perspective to this national conversation," said Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz. "Completing this local study will help KDOT better understand the potential real-world implications of a road usage charge model and help to ensure agricultural and freight industry perspectives — as well as rural drivers — are considered."
The study will be conducted in three phases. Phase One is seeking volunteers to engage in activities and provide feedback that will inform the RUC pilot design. Individuals interested in learning more and following the progress can also sign up for email updates on the project webpage (ksdotike.org/RUC-study — reference the project fact sheet). The study is being supported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and coordinated with the Minnesota DOT to expand the pilot's reach.
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