Pay-By-Mile Floated As Alternative To Gas Tax For California Drivers

SACRAMENTO (KPIX 5) – As complaints rise about the conditions of California’s bumpy roads rise, lawmakers say they may have a way to funnel more money toward road repair. To start, they’ll replace the gas tax.

The California Legislature is looking at a voluntary program that would eliminate the state’s gas tax, which is currently 2nd highest in the nation at 52.9 cents per gallon. Instead, drivers would be subject to a tax based on vehicle miles traveled of a VMT tax.

“I’m very opposed,” said commuter Carmen Smith, one of many hybrid or electric car drives who paid a premium for their cars in order to save at the pump. “I bought a hybrid because of my drive.”

State Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) just introduced a bill to test out the VMT Tax because the gas tax is no longer bringing in what it used to thanks to more efficient cars. The program is modeled after Oregon and Washington State plans.

“We want to do as Washington and Oregon has done in a much bigger state with much longer commutes…to make sure whether it would work,” said DeSaulnier.

The system would require a GPS tracking device. The tax would be assessed every time you fill up at the pump. A similar proposal a few years ago was unpopular with drivers.

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