Pay-per-mile tax proposal moves forward in Washington state
- Seattle, WA AP
The Washington State Transportation Commission voted Tuesday afternoon to move forward with recommendations for a proposed “by-the-mile” tax to replace the state’s current gas tax.
The 16 recommendations approved by WSTC will be sent to the Legislature, Gov. Jay Inslee, and the Federal Highway Commission by January 13. They urge the Legislature to take a slow and gradual approach to the pay-per-mile tax over the coming decade, and to start with hybrid and electric vehicles.
“The gas tax is still working, but we know it is going fail in the future as cars get more fuel efficient and more people own those cars,” said Reema Griffith who is the executive director at the Washington State Transportation Commission.
Washington has one of the highest gas taxes in the country, but it has brought in less money in recent years due to more people driving electric and fuel-efficient cars. Washington drivers currently pay 49.4 cents tax per gallon of gas. The WSTC is recommending drivers pay 2.4 cents per mile. However, state lawmakers would have to set the final pay-per-mile rate.
“This is an important first step to ensuring future funding security for Washington’s aging roads and bridges,” stated Jerry List, chair of the Washington State Transportation Commission. “Revenues from our state gas tax will begin to decline as vehicle fuel efficiency continues to increase. We are already struggling to ensure adequate funding to maintain our systems of roads and bridges today.”
State officials say as vehicles become more fuel efficient or switch to electric power, gas tax revenue is expected to decline by as much as 45 percent by 2035.