Report Recommends Beginning Transition to Vehicle Miles Traveled System
A new report by the state of Washington highlights the necessity and benefits of moving away from fuel taxes and transitioning to a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) system in order to fund the state’s highway system.
The Washington State Transportation Commission, after an extensive investigation, analysis, and pilot phase, recommends that the state begin its initial move away from fuel taxes in order to avoid long-term issues with financing the increasing and evolving needs of our modern highway system.
“This study highlights the unsustainability of relying on declining fuel tax revenues for maintaining and improving our roads and bridges. These conclusions are especially striking when you consider that Washington has the third highest gas tax in the country but still recognizes that maintaining the status quo is untenable,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO). “The report clearly shows that transitioning to a VMT system is a more equitable way to charge drivers for the roads they use, and that we are in fact capable of beginning that transition now.”
According to the report on a potential transition to a VMT, or Road Usage Charge (RUC), system, “With the gas tax already declining, adoption of cleaner and alternative fuel vehicles accelerating, and RUC systems and technologies ready for implementation, the State must act now to avoid a predictable transportation funding crisis later…. RUC policy, public acceptance, and system capabilities are mature enough to implement a RUC system that will serve as a foundation for a larger-scale, new highway funding system in the future.”
Among the report’s key findings:
The report noted that a transition can begin while some key issues continue to be addressed, such as issues of privacy, simplicity for users, equity, and collection costs. A number of other states are also involved in analyzing and piloting VMT systems with the assistance of federal transportation grants authorized in the FAST Act.