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A new state law that quietly moved through this year's legislature gives cities and counties unprecedented freedom to spend tax dollars on transportation projects other than roads and bridges.
This means communities for the first time can use their share of the $250 million pot of money made up of state fuel sales taxes and license plate fees — known as the Highway Users Tax Fund, or HUTF — on bike and pedestrian lanes and bridges, bus purchases, rail-station construction and other transit-friendly projects.
Previously, HUTF could be used only to build and patch roads and bridges.
The change is being cheered by proponents who see the need to retrofit neighborhoods and cities to prepare for wholesale changes on how people get around.
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