Caltrans seeks 5,000 volunteers for road-usage fee study

Updated Feb 4, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 10.57.12 AMThe California Department of Transportation is looking for 5,000 volunteers for the Road Charge Pilot Program that would look at ways to charge motorists road-usage fees to fund transportation projects.

Officials want to make sure volunteers are representative of the “vast geographic and socioeconomic diversity” of California.

Signup information is available at

The California Road Charge Technical Advisory Committee recently made available final recommendations for the study, which was approved by Senate Bill 1077 signed into law in September 2014.

“The free pilot program will inform the Legislature’s decision on whether moving forward with a full-scale permanent road charge program, potentially replacing the gas tax, is worthwhile,” Caltrans says. “The state’s current transportation funding system relies on revenue from fuel taxes, which continue to decline with fluctuating gas prices, increased use of hybrid and electric vehicles and overall improvements in new vehicles’ fuel economy.”

The agency says volunteers, who will not be charged for participating, will have several mileage reporting options to test for the state.

These include:

  • Time permit: A permit that allows unlimited road use in California for a specific period of time, such as a year, month or week.
  • Mileage permit: A block of miles based on your expected use of California’s roads.
  • Odometer charge: An option where payment is remitted after periodic manual odometer readings.
  • Automated mileage reporting: Choice of in-vehicle technology, with or without general location data, that reports mileage traveled to a third party account manager which invoices the participant.

“The gas tax is outdated and no longer capable of meeting all of our future transportation revenue needs,” says Will Kempton, California Transportation Commission (CTC) executive director. “The pilot is an excellent opportunity to study road charging and should provide the Legislature the data it needs to better determine whether and how this idea might work in California.”

Once the study is complete, the California State Transportation Agency will release a report, and the CTC will make recommendations to the state legislature.