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10 CHAPTER THREE STATE OF THE PRACTICE In reflecting on the history of HCASs conducted over the past As part of FHWA's software development effort, analy- 70 years, one point comes across most clearly: the motivation ses needed for inputs to the software for state HCASs behind the HCAS is the achievement of equity. Historically, (see chapter five). equity has been one of the most important principles driving Vermont's successful use of the above software and tax policy, and has been considered when raising revenues guidelines with very minimal outside consultant effort and allocating funds for maintenance, capital improvements, (>$10,000). operating programs, and services to the public. HCASs can Oregon's continued analysis of numerous HCAS sub- aid in achieving equity-related objectives. jects in the issue papers prepared in its HCASs and its continued exploration of performing a full cost-based As noted in chapter one, an HCAS survey was distributed allocation study where the external or social costs that to all 50 state DOTs. A general conclusion from the survey are imposed by the system are directly allocated to responses is that state HCASs have reached a fairly stable highway-user classes as opposed to the allocation of condition. That is, there have been no major breakthroughs in just highway expenditures. research or methodology in recent years. Most states doing FHWA's continuing refinement of data collection pro- these studies are using some variation of the methods devel- grams by the states as a cooperative effort, resulting in oped in the 1982 Federal HCAS, and most have been making far greater comparability of data among the states. gradual evolutionary improvements while achieving better efficiency in performing these studies. A consultant team working for the FHWA prepared an HCAS software package following completion of the 1997 RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN HIGHWAY COST Federal HCAS and the development of the first operational ALLOCATION STUDY METHODS AND SOFTWARE version of the package for the 1999 Oregon HCAS. The soft- ware consists of an Excel spreadsheet package intended for Since the 1997 Federal HCAS, several states have made en- performing any state's HCASs. The package contains four hancements to their own studies based in part on the research spreadsheets--two main spreadsheets containing Visual Basic and methodological improvements in that study. Although programs, a special visual analysis spreadsheet and a default the FHWA commissioned the development of HCAS soft- data spreadsheet. ware and guidelines for states based on that 1997 HCAS, little has been done to market these products or to encourage One of the main spreadsheets contains most of the data states to continue to perform HCASs, and no technical assis- and the two programs necessary to perform the allocation of tance has been offered except for volunteer efforts by mem- costs. The other main spreadsheet contains the programs that bers of the team that developed FHWA's 2002 State HCAS summarize the results of the cost and revenue allocations Model. Some states have developed and applied simplified and produces various summary output tables using user- versions of complete studies, and some have conducted defined formats. After all required data are entered, each of simple updates of previously completed studies. the programs can be run by clicking on the buttons on the sheets at the locations shown in the tables of contents of each Over the last decade since the completion of the 1997 spreadsheet. Federal HCAS, few major changes in HCAS practice have occurred. The most significant recent activities have The third spreadsheet in the package contains a model de- included: rived from results of running the two main sets of programs. The model is designed to provide equity assessments of any Completion of FHWA's work on development and re- special vehicle, such as a different truck configuration than finement of NAPCOM. currently allowed or a truck applying for an overweight per- FHWA's development of NAPCOM into a model that mit. The fourth spreadsheet provides default data obtained can be relatively easily applied in state HCASs. from national sources or estimated from sources for each FHWA's development of generalized state HCAS soft- state. These default data can be used, with due care, to pro- ware building on the results of the 1999 Oregon HCAS vide roughly half of the data required for application of the and FHWA's work cited earlier. software.