Federal legislators seek funding for highway improvements

Fleet management software will be a vital tool for businesses in a variety of industries as the U.S. federal government looks for new ways to fund necessary highway improvement projects.

According to Commercial Carrier Journal, a transportation industry publication, politicians in Washington generally agree on the basic idea that trucking organizations will have to pitch in if the nation intends to make progress in fulfilling long-standing promises to improve infrastructure across the country. However, many industry stakeholders disagree on the best way to go about increasing the level of funding available for such projects.

At a recent panel discussion hosted by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, representatives from different trucking and freight organizations shared their views about the most effective ways to raise more money from fleet activity.

"The studies could fill this room that have come to the same conclusion: We need to invest more," Jack Schenendorf, leader of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission, told the panel. "But then when you start talking about how we're going to pay for it, nobody wants to raise taxes, nobody wants more tolls or user charges.

Growing interest in VMT programs
One particular idea that has already gained traction around the nation is the concept of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) taxes. In fact, state legislators in Oregon recently passed a measure that implemented this system that chargers drivers, or businesses, 1.5 cents per mile. According toNext City, a nonprofit media publication, the VMT structure functions as an alternative to fuel tax programs.

Commercial Carrier Journal said the initiative is a popular solution among experts in the fleet industry, as well. In fact, many are suggesting it could be easily employed at the national level.

"Having a VMT system allows a more efficient system of pricing that's related to costs imposed," Robert Atkinson, former chair of the National Surface Transportation Financing Commission, told the House panel. "That's a complex endeavor to be sure, but that's why I recommend we start with a VMT system for trucks."

Businesses that depend on the ability to transport goods across the country are likely to face slight increases in cost in the future as federal legislators secure funding for highway infrastructure improvements. Trucking software can help fleet managers increase the efficiency of the transportation process. Other tools such as route optimization software make it easier to reduce travel times by avoiding major construction areas.