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State Testing Ways To Tax Road Usage, Separate From The Gas Tax

rudisillart / Flickr

rudisillart / Flickr

Some 5,000 drivers are taking part in the pilot program – among them is Kelly Garman.

“I’m a soccer mom and drive all over the place with my kids in soccer tournaments,” says Garman.

Garman works for the American Council of Engineering Companies in California, a group that lobbies for more money for roads. And she’s testing a device plugged into her car to track how much she drives. 

Last month she got a pretend bill, showing how much she would’ve paid under a road usage charge, compared to the existing gas tax.

“If we transfer to a vehicle miles traveled program, I would actually be paying less that way,” Garman says.

And other drivers would be paying more than they do right now.
The gas tax is a declining revenue source, because of electric cars and more fuel-efficient gas and diesel vehicles. But David Wolfe, with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, worries a road usage charge could lead to double taxation.

“In the sense that if this is ever implemented across the state, the gas tax may not go away entirely,” Wolfe says.

The pilot program will deliver its findings to lawmakers next year.

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