Oregon to test charging for miles instead of gallons
URBANA — One of the issues local budgeters face with the gas tax model is that it's a per-gallon charge — whether gas is $1 or $4 per gallon, the amount drivers pay at the pump for road maintenance is the same.
So as gas prices go up and cars become more fuel-efficient, people buy less gas and the amount of money government agencies have to fix roads goes down.
In 2015, the state of Oregon will launch a pilot program that might solve that problem: 5,000 volunteers will have devices attached to their vehicles to track their mileage. They'll pay 1.5 cents per mile, but get a refund of the gas tax money they pay at the pump.
Under what's known as the "Road Usage Charge Program," those 5,000 test drivers will pay for how much they actually use the road, regardless of how much gas they buy.
"It ensures that everyone using the roads pays their fair share for that road use," according to the Oregon Department of Transportation website.
Of course, letting the state attach a GPS device to your car doesn't come without Orwellian references. Still, ODOT promises that drivers' privacy will be protected: The law requires that personally identifiable information will be made available only to the registered owner or lessee of the car and the agencies responsible for collection of the road use charge.
Information collected by the on-board devices about location and daily use must be destroyed within 30 days after payment processing, dispute resolution or noncompliance investigation. But that has exceptions, like when a driver consents or when the state collects aggregated data for traffic management and research.