To gas tax or not to gas tax

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Kathleen Hunter’s piece, The Long and Taxing Road, in the July 2007 Governing magazine has some good information on Oregon’s experiment to understand the ability to replace or supplement the gas tax with technology (also a big theme here at Pioneer, see the transcript from our 2006 event Creating Mobility). Hunter notes:

Every time [motorists’ odometers] blipped up by a mile, they owed the state of Oregon a tax of exactly 1.2 cents. The trip to Eugene from Portland, a 100-mile journey on Interstate 5, would cost $1.20. And that’s not counting for gas.

The technology in place outside Portland counts miles traveled, avoids counting roads outside of Oregon, and can charge different amounts based on where in Oregon the travel occurs. New York is showing with its congestion pricing proposal one very logical use of new technology, which is to price roadways based on traffic flowthrough.

So, 260 motorists from spring 2006 to spring 2007 volunteered to test the Oregon pilot program. The report on outcomes is, I have heard, out. More on this soon.