Falling gas prices have been a welcome relief for Bay Area drivers, but they pose a serious problem for state coffers. As motorists fill up for less, gas tax revenues to pay for state highways, roads and bridges shrink. Some state lawmakers feel a mileage tax is the best solution.
In 2003, revenue reached $2.3 billion. In 2013, it was $2.62 billion. Governor Jerry Brown says there is a $59 million backlog on highway maintenance.
To pay for the shortfall, California officials are considering a plan that would replace California’s gas tax with a fee for each mile motorists drive. Drivers who log the most miles will end up paying the most, no matter how fuel efficient their car is.
A 1.5 cent mileage tax is already being implemented in a test program in Oregon. Similar programs are under consideration in Colorado and Washington.