The Washington State Transportation Commission has voted to propose a pay-by-mile system, referred to as a “Road Usage Charge,” to fund road projects.

Under the recommendation, drivers would pay 2.5 cents per mile driven on publicly-funded roads.

Critics argue that the proposed measure is simply a means for state officials to exert more control over citizens and extract additional taxes from them.

This program has the potential to be highly divisive. It involves installing a device in vehicles that utilizes both GPS and telecommunications technologies to track and report the miles driven. The primary targets for this program include government fleet vehicles, commercial fleets, car enthusiasts, and groups within the automotive industry.

The commission suggests that the program be made voluntary for drivers of cars that get 25+ miles per gallon starting in 2025.

Starting in 2027, electric car owners would be eligible for refunds on their licensing fees. This recommendation would apply to all vehicles produced in the 2028 model year and beyond.

To participate in the program, electric car owners would have the option to either have their mileage tracked by an odometer check annually or by a GPS device.

However, the Executive Director, Reema Griffith, acknowledged that the GPS option might raise privacy concerns for some individuals but noted that it could lead to lower payments for car owners.

According to Griffith, the new system will allow drivers to avoid paying road charges on certain “exempt miles” such as those driven in neighborhoods, parking lots, and on farms.

Furthermore, the commissioners are proposing that participants receive refunds for any gas taxes they have paid in order to prevent drivers from being charged twice.

Griffith also mentioned that the current method of funding road projects through gas taxes is not producing enough revenue due to the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient vehicles.

It’s worth noting that the state has been using a gas tax to fund road projects since 1921.

By Eden Reports

Eden Reports is a Seattle-based news reporter with a focus on a wide range of topics, including local news, politics, and the economy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *