By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
The California Legislature approved a bill to change how the state raises revenue for transportation work.State senators voted 23-11 to sign off on changes to a bill that would set up a task force to develop a voluntary program to test a new way to get money from highway users. SB1077 now awaits Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature. Assembly lawmakers already approved it on a 46-26 vote.
Specifically, the bill would authorize a pilot program in the state to assess the practicality of taxing truckers and other drivers based on vehicle miles traveled in the state. The VMT tax could replace the state’s fuel tax as people are driving vehicles that get better mileage. Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, says the excise tax is “not a long-term viable funding solution.” He describes his bill as “a critical first step toward California considering a mileage-based fee” as an alternative to the excise tax on fuels. Oregon and Washington are testing similar programs.
DeSaulnier has said his proposed pilot program is a reasonable approach to address the impending fiscal cliff for transportation funding. “We have to look at these kinds of things as Oregon and Washington have in anticipation of this cliff we’re about to go off,” DeSaulnier told Senate lawmakers prior to a floor vote. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is on the record as opposing the VMT tax. The Association sent communication to California lawmakers conveying the concerns of professional truckers. OOIDA Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek told lawmakers the Association supports investments into transportation infrastructure. “However, if additional revenue is needed, increasing the fuel tax is the most equitable and efficient option, so long as the generated revenue is used for its intended purpose,” he said.
Overdrive Staff | June 25, 2013
Several states will see changes to the price of fuel at the pump as new taxes take effect July 1.
Here’s a list where changes will occur:
- Nebraska: Motor fuels tax will increase 1.7 cents per gallon to 26.3 cents per gallon
- North Carolina: Motor fuels tax is going up from 37.5 cents per gallon to 37.6 cents per gallon.
- Kentucky: Fuel tax will go up 2.4 cents per gallon, raising the state tax to 32.3 cents per gallon.
- Wyoming: The first fuel tax increase in 15 years will increase the tax to 10 cents per gallon.
- Maryland: The first of three increases to take effect, the July 1 increase will push the state’s fuel tax to 27.5 cents per gallon
- Virginia: The only state in which gas prices could fall, when the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon fuel tax will be replaced with a smaller tax on the wholesale price of gas, causing a drop of about six cents in the pump price.