An ongoing decline in gas-tax revenue has prompted Washington state transportation officials to consider a pay-by-the-mile roadway tax system, The Associated Press reports.
A committee of transportation experts recently concluded a pay-as-you-go system would be feasible in Washington; the state must now determine whether doing so is a good idea—and how the new structure would be implemented.
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Washington's gas tax has long been the primary revenue source for highway repair and maintenance in our state. But the tax has been hit hard as vehicles become more fuel efficient and people opt to drive less. President Obama's new fuel-efficiency standards are expected to further exacerbate the problem.
"The gas tax is dwindling," state Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond told the AP. "It would be irresponsible for us not to look ahead and take care of our system in the future."
Pay-by-the mile is not a clear-cut solution. It has yet to be widely implemented by any state, and questions remain on how best to track miles without raising privacy issues.
Hammond said it could be a decade or more before Washington implements any new transportation tax system.