Looking at Transportation Funding Beyond the Gas Tax

Infrastructure Week discussions delved into options for offsetting declines in gasoline and diesel tax revenues. Is taxing vehicle mileage the answer? Oregon has experimented since last July with a vehicle-miles-traveled program, which allows up to 5,000 motorists to pay a 1.5 cents-per-mile charge, instead of fuel tax.

Odometer Image

“It’s actually not a foreign concept,” Joung Lee, policy director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, told an audience that included state lawmakers, as he discussed mileage-based taxes last Thursday.

Lee likened per-mile taxation to paying for electricity or water in a home.

“If you use a lot, you’re going to pay a lot,” he said. “I think that kind of linkage is really missing when we’re talking about the transportation investment and the funding in this country.”

But Oregon state Sen. Fred Girod, a Republican who represents a rural district that stretches east of Salem, pointed out that mileage-based taxes continue to stoke privacy concerns, with some people troubled by the idea of the government collecting information about their driving habits.

“That is the push back, really hard, is the confidentiality of the information,” he said during the event where Lee spoke.

Read the full article here at routefifty.com

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