- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon will test a new road tax option that would charge drivers for each mile they travel, instead of the tax now added when filling up at the pump.

The state Department of Transportation said the test will start in July with 5,000 volunteers, KGW-TV reported (https://bit.ly/12UtYLH ).

Drivers will be charged 1.5 cents a mile, with their distances tracked through one of several options, including a daily diary, GPS system or odometer device.

Drivers in the trial will get a monthly bill, and then the department will follow that with a rebate check to offset the money they already spent on the gasoline tax.

Right now, Oregonians pay a gas tax of about 30 cents per gallon.

The pay-per-mile program was created as a possible alternative to the gas tax.

The department has been warning since at least 2001 that revenues from the gasoline tax will dwindle as vehicles become more efficient, and it has conducted two rounds of tests involving GPS devices to track mileage.

But a bill to set up a per-mile road tax went nowhere in the 2013 session of the Oregon Legislature, where three-fifths votes are required to raise taxes.

“ODOT’s mission is to maintain safe highways for Oregonians. We can’t do that if we don’t have the funding to do the repairs and the maintenance that we need,” said ODOT spokeswoman Michelle Godfrey. “With the gas tax failing, there is going to be a shortfall very, very soon.”

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Information from: KGW-TV, https://www.kgw.com/


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