The state is getting ready to change the way it gathers the money to pay for road work – from taxing gasoline, the traditional way – to charging drivers by the mile as they drive.
The state is now introducing a plan called OreGo, which is designed to skip the usual buy gasoline, pay the dues scenario for one where it actually charges the drivers s they drive on the roads. The idea has been ushered as vehicles are getting better mileage and some – such as electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids – don’t even use gasoline, thus resulting in a lower tax revenue. The new $8.4 million program could be also adopted as a model by other states, including Michigan, as they seek to find new business opportunities to cater and upgrade for the decaying infrastructure as duty revenues are sliding. In Oregon, since July around 1,500 people can volunteer to drive using electronic devices that read their mileage – they will be charged 1.5 cents per mile for travel on public state roads instead of being tolled when they buy gasoline. Naturally, the users of electric vehicles or even plug-in hybrids are not overly happy with the new program, even going as far as to consider it discriminatory.
But Oregon is by no means the only state that wants to make sure all of the drivers using the roads pay taxes. California is also researching alternative strategies to the gasoline taxation system and is on its way to deliver a new test program. Washington is developing a similar strategy to Oregon’s and new legislation in Indiana is heading the same way.