The Washington Transportation Commission Proposes a tax per mile for Washington motorists to supplement fuel tax declinesFeb 23, 2023
The Washington State Transportation Commission will support a new tax scheme that charges drivers per every mile they drive to supplement a decline in fuel tax revenues, according to a report submitted to Gov. Jay Inslee and the state legislature.
Diminishing fuel tax revenues are expected to fall $21.4 million per year, over the next 28 years, a decline due in part to the fuel efficiency of electric and hybrid vehicles, as reported by The Center Square, a nationwide news source.
The state transportation commission wants to instead recommend a Road Usage Charge, which would charge a tax per-mile on all miles driven by motorists in Washington.
“RUC offers the potential to fund Washington’s transportation needs while preserving the user-pay principle previously embodied by fuel taxes,” the report states.
In November of 2022, WSTC launched the pilot phase of the RUC program and delivered three payment options: FlexPay, MilesExempt, and AutoPilot.
MilesExempt required documentation necessary to support out-of-state or off-road mile claims.
Autopilot allows drivers to use onboard telematics to report road usage directly from their vehicles.
“Eligible participants who opt in for this experience will be asked to activate their in-vehicle telematics program, which will then allow the project team to access data describing the number of miles driven in Washington provided by project partner Via,” according to the report.
The RUC tax would be 2.5 cents per mile driven on government-maintained roads in Washington state and would warrant annual odometer readings.
The odometer regime necessitates the WSTC and Washington State Department of Licensing to cooperate with automakers ensuring the advancement of “long-term solutions for mileage reporting and payment across borders,” according to the report.