Massachusetts could be the next state of a very small club in using a vehicle miles traveled tax as part of an effort to find alternatives to funding highway projects.
A bill has been introduced in the state legislature directing the Massachusetts Transportation Department to launch a pilot program with 1,000 volunteers, similar to one started by Oregon this year following a bill passed by the state legislature.
Supporters in Massachusetts say it is needed so it will be easier to access the feasibility of an alternative to raising money for state transportation projects, currently through fuel taxes. They point out that fuel consumption has fallen while the number of miles driven has increased, leading to less fuel tax revenue.
Lawmakers are wrestling with how to monitor driver miles while also protecting privacy.
The program launched earlier this year in Oregon is made up of 5,000 volunteers, but only includes motorists, because the state already has a weight-distance tax for commercial trucks. Those participating pay 1.5 cents per mile driven, but the state will reimburse them for any difference between the mileage tax and the traditional cents per fuel tax.
So far there is no indication the Massachusetts plan would involve commercial trucks
Read more about the Massachusetts plan from the Boston Herald.