Prior to the recent explosion of digital access to individual songs, greatest hits albums were a staple of the music industry. An artist with enough successful albums under his or her belt could repackage the best songs on each previous album into a greatest hits collection, which often then became a bestseller itself.

Here at ACCESS, we have more than a few successful issues under our collective belt, so many that our first greatest hits album even has a theme: Transportation Finance. While it was hard to narrow it down, the six articles we chose for this ACCESS Finance Special Issue collectively consider creative approaches emerging in California and elsewhere to address our mounting financial challenges in transportation.

In the pages that follow, we consider the transition from motor fuel taxes to road user fees, the latter of which can both generate revenues and smooth traffic flows. We learn why the gradual expansion of road user fees poses significant political challenges, and what might be done to manage them. We examine the equity implications of these new fees, and how they compare to the increasingly popular dedicated sales taxes for transportation. We also explore the rise of these dedicated sales taxes and what they mean for the future of transportation systems. At a more local level, we examine how variable prices manage parking demand and generate revenues in San Francisco. And finally, we look at a case study of public-private partnerships as a means to finance road projects.

So like that greatest hit by the O’Jays, this ACCESS is all about…money, money, money, money…money.

Brian D. Taylor
Professor of Urban Planning
Director, Institute of Transportation Studies
Director, Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies
UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs