California dabbling with replacing fuel tax with mileage tax


California Gov. Jerry Brown has received legislation that would make California the third West Coast state to test replacing state fuel tax with a vehicle-miles-traveled fee.

On Sept. 4, lawmakers sent the Democrat a bill that would create a pilot program to assess VMT as a potential alternative to fuel tax. It would direct the California Transportation Commission to create a Road Usage Charge Technical Advisory Committee and report its findings to the legislature by June 30, 2018.

Trucking generally opposes replacing traditional fuel taxes with VMT tax, also called road or mileage based fees. The idea has drawn increased interest from state and federal legislator coping with dwindling fuel tax revenue generated by energy efficient vehicles and tightened budgets.

California is among 14 western states currently composing the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium. This voluntary group of state transportation departments and other entities collaborate on VMT research.