Who Knew That Fuel Efficiency Would Cause This Problem? But, Local Rural Drivers Can Help Solve It

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As gas prices drop and fuel efficiency goes up, the amount of money available from the gas tax is plunging. That means much less money going to fix our roads. State government is expecting a “funding shortfall which totals $5.7 billion a year.”

The California Road Charge Pilot Program is hoping to change that.  According to Marcella Clem, “In this pilot project, drivers will keep track of their miles (or let a computer do it) to see whether a mileage-based system could replace the old gas tax.”

Clem explained that the program needs volunteers from diverse parts of the state and they aren’t getting enough from rural areas. The program is hoping folks up here will be interested in participating.

Check out this press release and see if you would like to be part of the program:

WHO: The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) through the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is launching a statewide pilot program to explore road charging as a potential long-term replacement for the gas tax. The purpose of the pilot is to study how a road charge funding model could work in California. The pilot’s parameters were developed through the recommendations of a 15-member Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), composed of representatives from diverse interests. To develop the pilot, the TAC engaged in a robust yearlong stakeholder engagement process by holding 12 public meetings throughout the state, meeting and soliciting feedback from hundreds of groups of stakeholders, and gathering their input and feedback on the design of the pilot. The TAC and pilot program are a creation of Senate Bill 1077 (Statutes of 2014, De Saulnier).
WHAT: Road charging is a funding mechanism where drivers pay to maintain the roads based on the miles they drive, rather than the amount of gasoline they consume. The free pilot will give participants a variety of manual and technological choices for reporting the miles they travel, as well as a choice for submitting simulated payments. There will be no cost for volunteer participation in the pilot program. The pilot will also employ strict data security and privacy requirements to protect drivers’ personal information.
WHY: The revenues currently available for highways and local roads are inadequate to preserve and maintain existing road infrastructure, reduce congestion and improve service. The gas tax cannot meet California’s current and long-term transportation funding needs because it is ineffective and outdated, and will continue to generate less revenue as cars become more fuel efficient. By 2030 as much as half of the revenue that could have been collected from the gas tax will be lost to fuel efficiency. The state needs to explore a sustainable transportation funding model to generate adequate revenue for its road maintenance and improvement needs.
WHEN: The nine-month road charge pilot will be launched in the summer of 2016. At that time, 5,000 Californians will be part of the effort to test road charging as volunteers. At the conclusion of the pilot an independent third party will evaluate the pilot results, and CalSTA will submit a report to the Legislature, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and the TAC by July 2017. This report will include the results of the pilot, a summary of the pilot volunteers’ experience and stakeholder input received throughout the entire pilot program. The CTC will include recommendations regarding the pilot program to the Legislature in their December 2017 Annual Report. The Legislature will make the final decision on whether and how to enact a full-scale permanent road charge program.
HOW: Anyone interested in learning more about the program or who would like to sign up to participate in the free pilot study should visit www.CaliforniaRoadChargePilot.com.

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26 comments

  • they will do anything to take your money
    they cant raise gas TAX without a public vote cause its a tax
    if approved , bet they dont use the word TAX on this program and use the word FEE
    if approved to replace gas tax then the fee could start out real low so not to pizz off anyone and could be as low as .05 cents a mile driven . but since a fee , no vote is needed to raise it to .20 cents a mile or even 1.00 $ a mile .
    nothing wrong with pilot program they want , i just hate the idea altogether

  • Stormy (the non-driver)

    Prius-driving libs love this stuff. More taxes the better. Eases their minds over the thousands of pounds of toxins they release every year from just existing. Then they go back to watching National geo on Netflix.

  • Put a certified odometer on the vehicle and charge them a per mile fee based on gross vehicle weight. I think that anyone who uses the roads would agree on a fair assessment. Bicycles should also be charged a road fee and a licence. Bikes use a percentage of the road and cause a percentage of the accidents. No one should be allowed to use a roadway without paying. Seems only fair…

    • and what about out of state tourists that use our roads . if no gas tax at the pump then they drive here for free . millions and millions of out of state tourists and business people use our roads . and how bout us from calif. that drive cross country . if we use our odometer readings to pay tax each year , how do we not pay for that trip to maine and florida that added 10,000 miles to the odometer .

      • Excellent point. Tax the tourists, always!

      • in a tourist based economy, which hum professes to be, muck revenue is generated by getting those tourists here. the tourists come and dump their $ where they go. they, too, are buying gas, especially up here where driving is required to move around at all.

        i’m not saying you will run tourists off with more tax at the pump. hell, the price of gas up here has always been the “can you top this” story…
        …’and shit, in humboldt county the price of gas was the most in the us, even considering the prices in hawaii!’.

        i hate when anything costs me $, especially what is for many people not a luxury item but a necessity….like toilet paper and feminine hygiene products. they tax the shit out of that stuff. like gas when ya live out in the boonies on limited incomes. we’re not all growers and you all know that.

        i’m not for making life harder.

        but, when you go on vacation you expect to spend the $ you saved entire year to go on vacation with.

        they come they spend hopefully some $ will trickle down to benefit the whole.

        so, don’t punch the tourists. they are your friends, as long as they return from hence they came.

        (…and think about what costs you personally incur when you bust a shock, dent a rim, blow a tire, hit a patch of rough road that jiggles you off and careen into a tree or worse.

        infrastructure support with good oversight costs much less then the consequences of ‘not at all if it’s gonna come out of my pocket’. a few more cents for gas, well, i’d hate it and it’ll mean i have to cut somewhere. me, i’ll compensate by buying one less box of oatmeal a month, but that’s still cheaper than a busted leaf spring and my being pissed the roads suck.

        and actually, maybe the kids huffing gas will cut back and it’ll save a life. (not funny, i know).
        my friends all call me “oatmeal” now anyway. lol

    • Roads are not constructed and maintained solely by user fees (gas tax). A significant portion comes from the general Federal, State, and local funds.

      Furthermore, walking or biking down a public road is a right. Driving down a road is a privilege!

      http://www.bikelaw.com/2015/11/09/running-on-empty-the-gas-tax-argument/

    • I have seen some heated private road meetings as to how to tax parcels fairly. Usually it is done by a per mile of road used yet some parcels have more drivers or drive more often than others.
      Some day it might be cheap enough to have a computer that runs a gate ( or not ) that charges by the number of times and weight of vehicle that corresponds to specific parcels or homes.

  • It seems all the reasons I would be willing pay taxes, are not paid for by our taxes or fall way short as compared to our needs. You know things like Fire fighters, Police, schools, roads, street lights, sidewalks etc. These are shorted
    and then barley made up by fines fees, and penalties.
    Mean while tax monies go for the study of the sex life of goldfish, the flight pattern of eagles etc. Sooooooo much waste of much needed monies.

  • Gives a literal meaning to the old saying, “If it moves, tax it!”

  • amimissingsomething

    Greedy people put in power to spend other peoples money…Never a good idea!

  • This won’t replace fuel tax, it will be in addition to the fuel tax. Taxes never go away.

    Bridge tolls are always sold as a temporary fee until the bridge is paid off… but they never stop collecting the toll.

  • I believe this idea is wrong in every possible way.

    I think fuel taxes are the fairest way to collect funds for road maintenance. While I don’t have a study handy to show it, I suspect there’s a very, very strong correlation between fuel consumed and road wear. Heavy vehicles (and heavily loaded vehicles) use more fuel, and do more damage to roads. Vehicles with lots of wind resistance need to apply more force to the road surface to maintain speed, causing more wear, and using more fuel. Drivers who mash the gas pedal for no reason put more wear on the road, while using more fuel. And so forth. Fuel consumption represents actual driving conditions.

    Fuel taxes also provide an additional incentive to continue to purchase fuel-efficient vehicles, while fixed per-mile charges do not.

    Any program will be rife with fraud and privacy issues. If it relies on voluntary reporting, people will misreport their miles. If it relies on inspections, people with tamper with their odometers. Maybe they’ll want a tracking device installed to prevent this – will you agree to that? What about people with multiple cars, switching cars mid-year, driving friends’ vehicles (are you going to need to charge your buddies for the taxes they run up?), etc? Is how many miles you drive information the government has a right to know?

    What will happen when people don’t pay these taxes? Confiscation of vehicles? Jail time? Creating more criminals is not a good idea. Will we need to start a separate welfare program for people who can’t afford them?

    Fuel taxes simply, reliably, safely, and accurately reflect road wear. If they’re not covering the costs, they should be raised.

    Cyclists and pedestrians should definitely pay for part of road maintenance. Now that they’re demanding extra-wide bike lines, dangerous concrete obstacles in the middle of roads, etc, they need to be paying for these things. How to charge them is a bit harder, however. Sales tax might be the best option.

    I’m somewhat suspicious this scheme exists because of the tesla model 3. If that is the case, the proper solution is probably to require separate metering of electric car chargers, and tax that appropriately.

    –Bushytails

    • After doing more research, they are indeed going for the option that’s the worst for everyone – mandated electronic tracking of vehicles. Is this even about taxes, or just a way to force people to let themselves be tracked?

      –Bushytails

      • Bushytails, I agree and I think this test is supposed to answer a lot of the questions you raise, but there are several non-electronic ways to report mileage available — check them out at the website: californiaroadchargepilot.com

        I signed up because it is free and who knows maybe they will actually listen to us.

  • A partial portion will go to roads, of course, but the majority is going to the unelected bureaucrats of regional planning for their stack & pack communities.
    They flat out said it at one of their media blackout secret meetings.
    SCAG is Southern California association of Governments. Up here, we have HCOG (or something close to that).
    Californians against SCAG has a lot of info about what’s really going on.
    By 2030, there will be no cars, no rural life, no roads, brought to us incrementally like they did with the smoking sections, then bans.
    Links for those who are interested in their children’s futures.
    50 mayors, scag, media blackout. https://m.youtube.com/watch?nohtml5=False&v=wdnrTr6KNGQ
    One of two mayors who awoke https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=in5dz_I6YHQ&feature=em-uploademail
    SCAG (COG) CREATING THE REGIONAL COUNTIES BY MERGING FOR EASIER GOVERNING OVER YOU. PAID FOR THROUGH CARBON TAX AND PAY PER MILE. YOUR TAXES PAY FOR THEIR DICTATORSHIP.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=em-subs_digest&v=5kuevDJyxm4
    Notice their motto? Bringing communities together. It’s literally, not spiritually.
    COG (council of governments). http://www.calcog.org
    Humboldt county CoG. http://www.hcaog.net

  • i read these comments, all good thinking points from different points of view. thanks.

    but it brought to mind…
    so many people feel the angsty energy around them. i personally believe we are quickley heading into some very difficult times ahead due to the ignorance, greed, need and arrogance of humans. was it 1964 when my teacher told the class that if the population keeps growing at the pace it has been it would be only 100 yrs before there would be too many people on the planet for the planet to support. it was the coming awareness of mass consumption, how lake erie was declared a dead body of water from pollution, how we were becoming a throw away society and that we were so lazy and ignorant that we threw our trash out the car windows as we were truckin’ down the rd, not caring about the trash all over and blowing in the winds…
    our greed and careless indulgence only increased exponentially since then. and so, i close my eyes and see we the collective “us” with no power at all – gas, electricity all expended, the pollution has gotten to the point that even solar power is impotent because the skys are a masking tape of smog between earth and our source of all life.

    perhaps we need to start discussing what we’ll do when we are quickley being kicked out of the industrial age party. we’ll be resorting back to the simple ways of travel by footfall, horseback, oxen, and goat cart.
    so, we’ll just need to keep fixing the mud ruts on the trails we take to work/school, hire poop-scoop crews to keep the pollution of 6,000 beasts of burden, the daily average, who are used to get us where we need to go.

    for many the world way will be unbearably hard, much suffering. me, i can’t wait to slow it down a bunch. i am excited at the thought of going by horseback. smelling horseshit instead of diesel fumes. slowing down enough to talk to other people we share the trails with. watching people do all those stupid stunts done while driving (reading, putting on makeup, yelling at other passengers, doing various sorts of paperwork, putting on or taking off clothes, drinking a beer…) now being performed as they clop along in a goat card.

    then we can all vetch about how the tax and fees of hay is going up again to maintain the trails and discourage travel.

    (studies have shown that i am not, as of yet, certifiable)

    • That’s a sweet idealology, but how will you pay for the wagon rut fines?
      When Calif counties merge into 10 Regional counties for easier governing over by unelected officials, you loose your elective voice. You loose your elected officials. You are stuck with the officials the unelected choose for bossing you around.
      Reading the goals of their agendas, uncovers more truths. Horses, pets, livestock, recreation, travel, are considered enemies of the planet, & are to be outlawed, banned.
      Even hover board users are fighting for their right to travel on/in public lands where all forms of vehicle access are banned. Firefighters fight for their right to fight fire by air or heavy equipment.
      With your horses, wagons, hay, pastures, goats, burnt to a crisp, now what? Don’t forget the fines you will have to pay for trying to save them or your property. Your elected officials, your voice, no longer works in your new non county. You are a region now. Expect to go to prison for wasting water on a fire. Expect a huge fine for not renting a regional developer’s over priced cell in the new stack & pack community.
      Yes, my dear, it is that bad. & worse.

      • P.S. When the people don’t have a voice, they also don’t have private property or rights. You will be trespassing on your own used to be yours property. Let that one sink in.

      • P.S.S. If you compare your teacher’s lessons with real world news, you’ll soon realize why shared housing & self sustaining communes are being outlawed across the nation, raided by unelected swat teams, regulated to death by unelected regional agencies forced to hook up to the grid or have their property confiscated, …
        For every new fabulous innovative solution, there is a patrol ready to carry out devious raids.
        Innovators have created wire mesh towers & screens to capture the morning dew & fog for filling water tanks, yet all we hear about is greedy water users.
        Innovators have created turbines that turn CO2 into clean energy, but we never hear about it in mainstream media.
        Innovators have created home & business air filters that filter pollutants, yet they are never promoted in mainstream media.
        What is promoted? Hate. Disgust. Worry. Fear. And taxing & fining.
        It’s pretty obvious how they look for happiness, contentment, self sufficiency, and find ways to regulate it out of existence.

        • The only ones that will be happy about safe secure high wire Jurassic park stack & pack communities, are those who have a fetish for dinasours & other dangerous animals. Keeping abreast of the eggs & DNA found in Siberia(?) & other areas, & the scientists who are excitedly cloning & research is paramount. Are you willing to raise your colts & fillies for carnivorous appetites?

      • P.S.S.S. Even with all that said, just knowing that their Half Trillion dollar estimate for their goal is low & the fact taxpayers are paying for it and the fact that the money could be better spent elsewhere should be enough to raise most eyebrows.

    • Kvetch

  • Pingback: 2017 FLORIDA SALES TAX ON CARS

  • @Judi …when the fuel runs out the first thing to happen will be mass starvation, there’ll be no horses as they use so much feed, the acre you and your family need to feed yourself will last one horse 4-6 months, plus the horses will all have been eaten

    Don’t believe me, guess what happened to most of the horses in Britain between 1939-45?

  • Cut the money they are giving to Illegal Aliens and then deport the Illegal Aliens and they would have more than enough money.

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