California next month will start charging drivers by how much they drive, a test program meant as an alternative to the nation's policy of taxing gasoline as a way to pay for highway construction.
Funding for national and state transportation projects is drying up nationwide as the gas tax, long the nation's primary source of road funding, is no longer providing enough revenue as vehicles become more fuel-efficient and people drive less.
|'What we know right now is that the gas tax isn't cutting it anymore.'|
So California, frequently a leader on environmental and transportation issues since it's the nation's largest state, will test an alternative: charging drivers a fee based on how many miles they travel instead of charging them at the gas pump.
In 2014, the Golden State passed legislation directing a study into charging drivers a mileage-based fee. Under the nine-month pilot, set to start in July, 5,000 volunteers will report and simulate payment for the amount of miles they travel.
The state legislature will receive the program's results at the end of the pilot and then decide how to move forward. If successful, California's gas tax, which will be reduced to 28 cents a gallon on July 1, could be replaced by a system that charges by mileage.