Capitol Alert

No mileage tracking in California road tax plan

This undated photo released by the Oregon Department of Transportation shows a display device on the dashboard that indicates how many and what kind of miles a driver has driven. Proponents of a California transportation funding approach excluded mileage-tracking systems from its suggested revenue sources.
This undated photo released by the Oregon Department of Transportation shows a display device on the dashboard that indicates how many and what kind of miles a driver has driven. Proponents of a California transportation funding approach excluded mileage-tracking systems from its suggested revenue sources. AP

Higher gas and diesel taxes, revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program, and increased vehicle license and registration fees are among the possible sources of new revenue included in a transportation-funding package of principles put forward Monday by a coalition of local government, business and labor groups.

Notably missing from the list of possible ways to generate $60 billion over 10 years: A system of charging people based on the miles they drive instead of the fuel they pump. Such a system is the focus of a pilot study that received $10.7 million in the current budget. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, mentioned the idea earlier this year as an option for generating more transportation revenue. And starting last month, thousands of Oregon motorists began testing mileage-based taxes.

But Jim Earp, a member of the California Transportation Commission and executive consultant to the California Alliance for Jobs, said California has immediate needs for more road-improvement money while any mileage-based system for the state’s 33 million registered vehicles is still years away.

And while the coalition’s research showed public acceptance of higher taxes and fees to improve roads, Earp said privacy concerns could hinder support for the government’s tracking people’s mileage.

“There are a lot of things involved in that that are going to be difficult,” Earp said. “It’s not going to happen tomorrow.”

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