This Ohio article around US road infrastructure problems & trying use mileage VMT tax to pay for it is definitely not good template to use/compare and then go checking around the world on how they do it! It is more an example of how journalism is dummying down news and facts in spite of having greater access to facts and information from the internet/computer age. Perhaps it is just as well newspapers are going out of business – with articles like this.
The US road system has never paid as it goes thru pump taxes and US vast infrastructure has drifted into a huge crisis as a result. The average Joe American only drives 14,000 mile/year even when he has a job unlike todays economy and that includes the long drives for vacation/visiting relatives. And 80% damage to our roads is done by the trucks not cars traveling upon them – what has to be replaced in 2-5 years do heavy loaded trucks tearing up roads would have lasted nearly 20 years if only cars traveled on them. And that is ok the US has to subsidize our trucking system to keep us competitive; because the key to past US competitive edge in mfg goods, products & exports is World-class road & rail infrastructure. We have large land continent and our road and rail system is so vast it actually acts as land bridge allowing products to move across it much faster than shipping lanes would take (top distance for ship is ~200-250 nautical miles in day) and puts perishable produce to market anywhere in less 7 days it takes to start spoiling.
But it takes a large portion of US GDP & taxes dedicated to this infrastructure for growth, repair & replacement and we just havent done it last forty years for large number of reasons so now it is crisis, despite hiking many multiples of tax rates on gasoline/diesel at both fed & state levels.
Incompetent and Crooked politicians at Federal, State, City & local levels are one the most inefficient ways of getting a needed investment dollar to the goal. You have only to look at current state of politics where Democratic leaders were swept into office promising to clean up corruption in all areas and all that happened is label switch on party being indicted.
Ohio is good example of state that has crisis of investment on infrastructure it has lot big cost items like bridges that have to be replaced having aged. Several bridges have collapsed in US upper Midwest and its estimated nearly 20%+ more are in danger (some 23,000!) and look at what small portion of the Stimulus Shovel Ready dollars went towards any US road investments (less 200 bridges targeted very few of many in Ohio & West Virginia where only about 1 in 4 are being replaced closing down lot interstate product moves).
As mentioned before nearly 80% damage done to roads is from trucks where VMT could never pay for separate system/alternate roads except around few cities where budgets went critical & were forced to save congested/intercity vehicle roads. Not mentioned in the article is fact that one sided NAFTA program has increased import truck traffic by some 300% in US over last 10 years because of shift of imports from ship vessels into truck & rail modes so now we are subsidizing Mexico & Canada truck infrastructure requirements. This is due get lot worse if / when US roads get opened to Mexican trucking that has bad record on overloading and unsafe driving.
Even when states try use toll way roads to pay for new infrastructure instead of relying on the VMT fuel taxes the problems with corruption comes back into play. Oklahoma has been poster state for this it is nearly impossible to leave the state without going on one of toll roads that should have paid out in 10-15 years but are pushing 40 years of collection now. The number of state politicians and authorities that have been arrested is truly legion in number over the past 30 years.
Not that we are the only countries to have these problems Europe probably has one of the highest VMT tax programs where some 70-80% taxes from $6-10/gallon fuel goes towards government for infrastructure and yet they have no intercontinental truck/ rail freight system (ships have to offload cargo at large ports to small vessels to deliver at limited / small ports) and instead rely on Ship Short Sea Feeder network. The vehicles are all much smaller & get higher mileage and often travel less than US counterparts due efficient passenger rail system (whose priority is also why they do not have rail freight option) but makes their trucked goods higher/less competitive than other countries.
China has made the largest increase in all modes of travel infrastructure but since they are buying $80-140/Bbl crude but capping gasoline & diesel prices below $0.87-1.0/gallon there is no question of support from VMT here. The investment is all driven by government and over the last 10 years has taken a road system where lest 40% of roads were paved, no interstate highways, and 7 different rail systems that could not link due different track size and shoved it into large network to support the growing inland movement of manufacturing plants.
Despite all claims of lost jobs to China that will never return I suspect if you gave truckers fuel at $1/gallon, subsidized US refining every year $billions to make it & freed every plant from ANY environmental investment .youd have position all US fire trucks to hose our system down to keep growth from overheating !
Think that is enough comparison to show the authors take is pretty much FUBAR as answer …….. and we didnt even get to part that adding methanol wipes out any MPG improvements the still solvent US car mfg can make, or that electric cars being shoved down our throats wont pay any VMT or pay for stations to be converted to supply electric charge, or pay utilities for big increase substations required neighborhoods for all cars being plugged in.