Missouri is one of seven states to receive federal grant money to test new ways to finance highway and bridge projects.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced this week $10.2 million in Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives (STSFA) grants to seven states. The program’s goal is to allow states to test user-based alternatives to support the Highway Trust Fund, which relies primarily on the federal gas tax.

“These grants provide states with the opportunity to explore innovative new ways to help pay for infrastructure improvements and maintenance,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Brandye L. Hendrickson.

The STSFA grants fund projects to test the design, implementation, and acceptance of user-based alternative revenue tools. FHWA officials selected proposals from seven states, which included Missouri, California, Delaware, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Utah.

The seven projects will reportedly investigate and evaluate various mileage-based and road-user charges, including for trucks and automated vehicles, and the implementation and operation of the technologies at a regional level.

This is the third innovation grant MoDOT has received from the Federal Highway Administration to study the future of transportation funding under the STSFA program. This week’s grant of $1.72 million follows an initial grant of $250,000 in 2017, and a second grant of $2.88 million in 2018.

MoDOT intends to use the federal grant funding to continue to work with the Missouri Department of Revenue DOR to improve the efficiency and accuracy of its data systems associated with Missouri’s registration fee system for personal vehicles.

Missouri’s proposal is that the registration fee would be based on the basis of the fuel efficiency of the vehicle—measured in miles per gallon—rather than the outdated metric of “taxable horsepower” which is no longer calculated or published by vehicle manufacturers, according to MoDOT.

STSFA was established under the “Fixing America's Surface Transportation” (FAST) Act.

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