Roads are not free: a modern approach for financing transport infrastructure in Romania

Financing road infrastructure through public budgets, in particular in the context of soaring fiscal deficits in developing countries, is not sustainable and leads to poor road infrastructure. Are there more efficient ways to finance maintenance of and investments in the road network, such as linking benefits with pay? Is user charging politically possible and could it decrease possibilities for corruption in the sector? Would such a mechanism take long to implement? These are the questions the thesis aims to answer in the context of Romania. The thesis advocates the introduction of road user charges in Romania in the long run as part of a larger strategy to put the sector on a commercial basis, and, in the meanwhile, proposes a mixed system of road user charges and the medium term expenditure framework as an intermediary step. The thesis, utilizing existing theoretical literature and examples, shows how creating adequate conditions for future user charging clarifies institutional arrangements, stimulates better planning, and improves the transparency of the sector.