Washington state to pilot ‘pay-per-mile’ highway funding program
Originally posted by ELIZABETH LANDRUM |FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2017
The Washington State Department of Transportation plans to test a pay-by-the-mile as a way to fund highways due to the increasing cost-revenue gap.
The pilot project will utilize 2,000 volunteers who will pay mock taxes on the number of miles driven on Washington state roads, rather than pay taxes on the amount of gas they use, according to the Washington DOT. Participants in the project won’t be paying actual money, but the planned rate is 2.4 cents per mile, which equates to the current gas-tax rate for a car with average gas mileage.
The pilot project came about due to the widening gap between gas-tax revenue and construction costs. Next year, Washington DOT expects gas-tax revenues to rise by 0.9 percent, while construction costs increase by 2.6 percent. The year after, it expects gas-tax revenue to increase by 0.7 percent and construction costs to increase by 2.7 percent. In 2020, the gas-tax revenue is estimated to go up 0.6 percent, while construction costs will go up 3.1 percent.
The pilot volunteers will have a variety of options to “pay” the tax. Volunteers can send in pictures of their odometer or have it recorded at a Department of Licensing office, use a smartphone app to track miles, or plug a mileage meter into their car.
California, meanwhile, recently concluded its otaxwn nine-month pilot program in March, with 5,000 participants testing out various methods of recording mileage. The Seattle Times also noted that surveys found that about 85 percent of participants said they were satisfied with the pilot, and nearly three-quarters said the road charge was fairer than the gas tax.