This is the Winter 2015 issue of MBUFA's e-Newsletter. Please use the links below to jump directly to articles and departments of interest. We welcome any comments and suggestions as well as contributions (news, features or links to recent research) for upcoming issues.

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Mark your calendars now for the MBUFA Annual Conference. The one day conference will be held at the PEW Conference Center in Washington, D.C. on February 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Highlights will include:
    • Newest information on the State of California pilot
    • How does the USDOT plan to implement Section 6020 of the FAST Act's $95 million for user fee programs
    • The state of mileage-based user fees in other states: Washington, Illinois, Oregon, Minnesota and more
    • Find out the latest about telematics: what is being learned and expected to be learned from pilots from leading firms around the world
    • What does Congress hope to learn from the five year user fee pilot program

More information about the conference will be available starting weekly in January. This will be a full day packed with information on the future of this project in the United States.  Sign up early to secure your space.

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The California Road Charge Technical Advisory Committee completed Phase 1 in December
2015 with the delivery of the pilot design recommendations. Included in their recommendations are the following:
  • 5,000 participants statewide - include a broad cross-section of individuals, households, businesses, and at least one government agency.
  • Diversity in vehicle types - vehicles reflective of the fleet currently using California's road network.
  • Commercial and State account managers - offer drivers a choice in account managers.
  • Multiple mileage reporting methods - offer drivers a choice in either manual or automated mileage recording methods.
  • Robust privacy protection and data security provisions
Phase 2 has already commenced with the hiring of CH2M as the independent evaluator and the solicitation of vendors for the pilot. Additionally, Caltrans will be launching a dynamic website for the recruitment of the 5,000 pilot volunteers. 

Phase 3, the live demonstration, is anticipated to start July 2016 for a nine month duration. With Phase 4 wrapping up by July 2017. 

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Two milestones were on the agenda for MBUFA's 2015 Quarterly Meeting in Washington, D.C. on December 14th: The California Road Charge Pilot, and the inclusion of $95 million for "Surface Transportation Funding Alternatives" in the FAST ACT, recently passed by Congress and signed by President Obama.

California Road Charge Pilot

Norma Ortega, Deputy Director of Finance for the California Department of Transportation described the support and preparations for the pilot, including how the schedule for conducting the pilot was moved up a year so that it would be started in 2016 and completed by 2017. The nine-month pilot, coordinated for Caltrans by D'Artagnan Consulting (a member of MBUFA), issued an RFP for bids in November, reviewed the bids in early December, and is having discussions with a "short list" of vendors in early January.  Public recruitment of 5,000 volunteer drivers for the pilot is underway (see This California project is the most significant test of road charging since the most recent pilot in Oregon.


A discussion of the FAST Act's MBUF language was led by Susan Binder of Cambridge Systematics, Matthew Chiller of CH2M, and Brendan McCann, consultant to Oregon Department of Transportation, giving MBUFA members a better understanding of the legislative intent behind Section 6020 "Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives". The bill authorizes the USDOT to establish a program "to provide grants to States to demonstrate user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that utilize a user-fee structure to maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund". In 2016, $15 million will be available for State DOTs to apply for grants (with $20m available each year from 2017 through 2020).

MBUFA Executive Director Barbara Rohde moderated an open discussion among members about introductory pilot recommendations to make to the USDOT, after which George Schoener of the I-95 Corridor Coalition and Jim Whitty of the Oregon DOT, led a discussion narrowing the member pilot recommendations.

After lunch, members traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with key legislative staff who did the necessary work behind Section 6020.


Jack Basso, Chairman of MBUFA
By Jack Basso, Chair, MBUFA


President Harry Truman once said that "it is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." Contrary to what many may think, I did not serve in the Truman Administration, however his words certainly ring true now with the passage of the FAST Act and the inclusion of Section 6020 which establishes a $95 million grant program to explore "user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that utilize a user fee structure to maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund."

This success has many authors and the efforts go back many years to the early studies and conferences examining and exploring a mileage-based system as a long-term, sustainable funding alternative to the gas tax. I think it is fair, though, to give special mention to the members of MBUFA who have worked hard to educate and raise the profile of mileage-based systems. Certainly states like Oregon and California, which have pioneered the concept and have made incalculable contributions to demysticizing the concept while demonstrating its viability both politically and practically, deserve enormous credit and recognition. And certainly, tremendous thanks are owed to members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who are directly responsible for drafting and enacting this landmark program.

Now we are in the place of my beloved Washington Redskins, who after struggling for years to put together a winning program, find themselves atop their division. While they have achieved a major goal, they realize that the biggest challenge is still ahead - the championships. For MBUFA and mileage-based systems, we have fought hard to get acceptance and federal funding. Now we face our championships...implementation. We have less than five years to put the federal grant funds to work and demonstrate the viability of a multi-state mileage-based system.

Our organization is already pivoting in that direction to partner with the DOT to roll out the grant program. This year's annual conference will have implementation as a focus. Successful implementation will require the combined experience, expertise and commitment of our membership. I believe that with this new grant program and the tremendous team we have in place, we are positioned to be part of a championship run in transportation policy.

Congratulations and thank you to all have contributed to this success! Let's stay focused on our goal of building the foundation for a national program.

Barb Rohde
By Barbara Rohde, Executive Director, MBUFA

Wow! What a difference a few months has made on the MBUF issue. The $95 million in the 
FAST Act signed in early December by President Obama really provides the rollout of testing
of user fees in this nation. This provision will allow the United States to lead on a critical issue that is being discussed worldwide. I believe the information gleaned from the pilots being considered in the U.S. will be key points for government and business decision makers on the future of transportation finance worldwide.

This quarter was also an exciting time for new memberships for MBUFA. We want to welcome three new Members to MBUFA: 

American Automobile Association

The Associated General Contractors of America

Nossaman, LLP

The next months will be very important as we begin working with USDOT on the implementation of this new program. Jim Whitty from Oregon DOT and George Schoener from the I-95 Corridor Coalition have agreed to co-chair a task force of MBUFA Members to work on this issue with USDOT and the potential pilots being discussed. Due to the August 1 transfer of funds, moving these discussions along quickly will be vitally important.

I especially want to thank the MBUFA Members who have supported our efforts during the past five years for their time, advice and encouragement. That assistance and support has been invaluable as we move into this phase of the federal program. In addition, many Members of Congress, Senators and staff members from both bodies have lent an unusual amount of support for this issue and we are very thankful for their help.

Thanks again, and Happy New Year!
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January 6: FAST Act Section 6020 Update Call, 11am EST

January 13: FAST Act Section 6020 Update Call, 11am EST

January 20: FAST Act Section 6020 Update Call, 11am EST

January 27: FAST Act Section 6020 Update Call, 11am EST

February 23:  MBUFA Annual Conference, 8:30am-4:30pm EST 
PEW Conference Center
Washington, D.C.

March 13-15: IBTTA Transportation Policy & Finance Summit
Washington, D.C.

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Associated General Contractors of America



Cambridge Systematics

CDM Smith


Colorado Contractors Association

Cubic Transportation Systems, Inc.

D'Artagnan Consulting

Delaware Department of Transportation


Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

I-95 Corridor Coalition

Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting

IBTTA (International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association)

International Telematics

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Nevada Department of Transportation

New York City Department of Transportation

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Nossaman, LLP

Oregon Department of Transportation

Parsons Brinckerhoff

Reason Foundation

sanef its technologies

Southern California Association of Governments


Verdeva, Inc.

Verizon Telematics

Washington Department of Transportation