Washington has begun a pilot program to test out an alternative to the gas tax.
The Washington State Transportation Commission is seeking at least 2,000 drivers to volunteer for the program, in which they will log miles they drive.
The program, which begins in January, is testing whether a per-mile road charge would work in the state to provide more reliable revenue for road and bridge maintenance and improvements.
The state received a federal grant to fund the program as did six other states: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon, Minnesota and Missouri.
“Gas tax revenue will decline as vehicles become more fuel-efficient or use no gasoline,” the commission says. “Because the gas tax is the main source of funding for our roads, bridges and the ferry system, we must assess new funding approaches today if we are to sustain our transportation system in the future.”
The program lasts for about a year and does not cost participants. Those who volunteer will receive mock invoices and will also receive gift cards periodically as a reward.
The program offers four methods for recording mileage:
- A mileage permit, which carries a pre-select a block of miles.
- Give quarterly odometer readings in a report.
- Automated mileage meter with GPS and non-GPS options.
- Or by smartphone app that collects and reports miles.
The commission estimates that a road charge would cost drivers about $288 a year if enacted at 2.4 cents a mile. That’s based on drivers averaging 12,000 miles a year per vehicle. The commission says drivers pay an average of $289 a year in state gas tax.
To learn more about the program, go to waroadusagecharge.org.