Washington state officials prepare pay-per-mile pilot program

The state of Washington is considering charging drivers a fee based on how many miles they drive each year.

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Washington state transportation officials are preparing a pay-per-mile driving pilot program.

The Road Usage Charge or RUC would replace the state gas tax.

Executive Director of the Washington State Transportation Commission, Reema Griffith, said with more electric cars and fuel efficient cars on the road revenue from the state gas tax falls flat.

The pilot program will see how much revenue can be generated if drivers pay per mile they drive as opposed to how many gallons of gas they use. The idea is to make sure all drivers are paying their fair share when it comes to how much they use state maintained roadways. 

The pilot program calls for 2,000 volunteers from Washington state as well as about 200 drivers from surrounding states and Canada. This would be a simulation and drivers would not really pay anything. The drivers will track their miles and report it.

There would be up to four different options for reporting mileage.

One option is an actual odometer. The device would either track a driver with a GPS logging if they are driving in Washington and if they are driving on a public road.

Another option would be a non-GPS device that just tracks mileage.  Another option is a prepaid system. Drivers could pay for a certain amount of miles for a certain time period.

 A third option would be drivers sending in their odometer reading and paying after the fact. And a final option would be a smart phone application. 

The proposed rate for the pilot program will be 2.4 cents per mile. That would equivalent to the .49 cents per gallon drivers pay as a state gas tax. This is based on Washington state's average car's gas mileage of 20 mpg.   

The pilot program is set to launch in January, but soon the state will be looking for volunteers. At this point, state officials want to get the word out about the program.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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