Calif. To Consider Mileage Tax
A California state commission suggested last week that California move toward replacing the gasoline tax with a mileage tax, the North County Times reports.Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review Commission suggested the new tax idea as a way to boost sagging transportation revenues at a time when rapid population growth is straining the state highway system. When drivers stop for gas, mileage would be automatically calculated by a transponder in vehicles that would transmit a mileage total to a machine inside a gas station.The commission recommended following the lead of a task force in Oregon that wants to test the concept of a mileage tax in one of its cities, Eugene, in 2005. Under the program, all 2,000 Oregon stations would be equipped with computers for calculating the tax and all new cars would have transponders to track and report miles driven.The study sites that gas tax revenues are being lost to higher mileage hybrid vehicles, and that gas may eventually be replaced by hydrogen power, making the gas tax obsolete. "We've got to start looking at an alternative, or a replacement, for the gasoline tax,” Joan Borucki, the commission's infrastructure team leader, told the North County Times. “The mileage tax is not so much a way to increase revenue, as it is a way to maintain what we have now."Some lawmakers argue that a flat rate would penalize commuters who drive dozens of miles from their homes in Riverside County to jobs in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties.