This effort seems warranted, particularly in the light of the growing use of electric vehicles that seems to be emerging. The double whammy will be the possible widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles.
Washington state to test pay-by-the-mile as a way to fund highways
- As cars get more fuel-efficient, gas-tax revenues won’t nearly keep up with the costs of highway work that those taxes fund. Washington is launching a pilot project to test a new way of funding roads — a tax on every mile you drive.
- Next year the Washington State Department of Transportation expects gas-tax revenues to rise by 0.9 percent. It expects its construction costs to increase by 2.6 percent. The year after, it expects gas-tax revenue to increase by 0.7 percent. It expects construction costs to increase by 2.7 percent.
- “Inflation that we have forecasted is higher than these motor-fuel growth rates of less than 1 percent,” said Lizbeth Martin-Mahar, the Department of Transportation’s chief economist.
- It’s a problem that will only get worse in the future as cars get more and more fuel efficient and, eventually, revenues begin to actually decline. It’s also not a problem that has sneaked up on anyone. The Washington State Transportation Commission has been studying it since 2012 and is now recruiting volunteers to test a possible solution.