Pay Per Mile to Replace WA Gas Tax in 2020? Officials Debating
It's been simmering ever since Washington State Department of Transportation officials and legislators have been considering this a few years ago.
Now it appears to possibly be debated and perhaps acted upon. According to multiple sources, the legislature appears to be taking up the idea of pay per mile for Washington state drivers, which would replace the gas tax.
The state tax currently is at $.49.5 cents per gallon, the WSDOT has been running a year long pilot program charging drivers $.2.4 cents for every mile they drive. Officials are trying to see what offset there is, and if it will increase revenues, while not 'choking' motorists financially.
According to the Tacoma News Tribune, one pilot driver said (based upon 23 miles per gallon in their vehicle) they paid $8 a month more one month, $2 more another, and then $6 more over what the state gas tax would have charged.
The reason for the pay per mile idea is that as legislators keep raising the gas tax (highest state tax in nation) more fuel efficient vehicles and drivers modifying driving habits actually decrease the amount of taxes taken in. Citizens adapt and find ways to drive fewer miles, so the state gets less revenue.
Critics say it shouldn't have to come to this, as the state has wasted lots of money due to lack of efficiency, or on costly projects such as the Bertha Tunnel near Seattle.
The legislature could be taking up this idea during the 2020 session which starts in early January.