(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — For decades, there has been pressure around the world to make vehicles more fuel efficient and eliminate emissions completely.
As automakers and drivers have adapted to regulations that have seen significant increases in fuel efficiency, it has had a side effect – transportation funding, which was dependent on gasoline taxes, has decreased accordingly.
Most vehicles are more fuel efficient and fully electric is becoming more prevalent, but all using the same infrastructure, but with less money for infrastructure funding (which in Pennsylvania is primarily funded by gas tax revenues). less contribution.
This has led many states around the country, including Pennsylvania, to consider rates based on vehicle mileage.
How far along is that process in Pennsylvania, and what will it take for it to become a reality?
Federal gas taxes currently account for about 74% of bridge and highway financing. While the need to maintain infrastructure hasn’t changed, vehicles have and continue to change. Automobiles have dramatically improved mileage per gallon, and the country expects to transition almost entirely to electric vehicles in his decade-plus.
10 years looking back Publications from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the average fuel economy of the vehicle changed dramatically. In 2007 the car averaged 27.5 mpg on his CARE standard (how mpg is calculated for 55% of city driving and 45% of highway driving). Just 10 years later, in 2017, passenger cars averaged 39 mpg. Light truck went from 22.2 mpg to 29.4 mpg.
There is another trend that is likely to affect gas tax revenues. California plans to ban the sale of gasoline vehicles by 2035. Oregon, Washington When new york state Plans for a similar ban but allowing plug-in hybrids. announced the plan From 2026, purchase only all electoral vehicles.everal car manufacturers has committed to moving mostly or completely all-electric by 2035.
Pennsylvania’s highways and bridges rely heavily on the sale of gasoline for revenue, so these changes mean less financial resources. If you purchase less gas, your revenue will also decrease. This has led state agencies to seek ways to get out of the gas tax.
The Transportation Revenue Options Commission was established in Pennsylvania to help find solutions to declining infrastructure revenues. Several alternatives to the gasoline tax were discussed. This includes mileage-based taxes, fee collection, current funding redirection, new or adjusted fees, and current tax adjustments.
Alexis Campbell, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said: “All of these items were discussed, but the most discussed were MBUF (mileage-based taxes), redirection of state police funds, and package fees. was.
The redirection of state police funding would result in Pennsylvania eliminating transfers from the motor vehicle license fund to the Pennsylvania State Police. In that case, PSP funding must come from the Commonwealth General Fund.
“The proposal is that police are a common function of government, whether state or local, and that the revenue streams for motor vehicle licensing funds are more aligned with the use of the transportation system.” TROC Report July 2021 Said. “The Pennsylvania State Police clearly have an important responsibility, and that responsibility is exacerbated by having to police some communities that do not have a local police force. A broader approach to police funding beyond the Fund is also needed, and this proposed redirection is seen as highly feasible and equitable.”
Pennsylvania is joining a coalition researching gas tax alternatives. He is one of the 17 states that make up her. Eastern Transportation FederationPennsylvania was part of a coalition study on potential mileage-based user charges from October 2020 to January 2021. The MBUF system evaluates how many miles your vehicle has traveled and charges you for those miles. A total of 70 Pennsylvania passenger cars and 20 Pennsylvania commercial trucks participated in the latest study. An earlier pilot was conducted with his 428 passenger car drivers and his 55 commercial trucks in Pennsylvania from July 2019 to October 2019. From May 2018 to July 2018, 35 passenger cars participated in the first pilot.
The July 2021 TROC report approved the Pennsylvania MBUF.
“By strategically considering the MBUF, TROC will actively encourage supportive federal action, raise public awareness and support, and begin laying the groundwork for technical and other implementation elements. We propose a long-term federal commitment to MBUF positioning and readiness,” the report said. “While such commitments are essential, they do not address Pennsylvania’s immediate funding problems. Therefore, it is imperative that we identify and implement multiple short- and medium-term funding sources…”
In total, more than 500 Pennsylvanians participated in the pilot study. Additionally, more than 1,000 Pennsylvanians participated in the poll.
PennDOT’s Campbell said when asked about public feedback on the potential for MBUF in Pennsylvania: We will continue to keep the public informed as the discussion progresses. “
One of the means PennDOT uses to disseminate information is social media. Recently, PennDOT’s Facebook page made several posts about the potential for MBUF in the Commonwealth. One such Facebook post took place on his January 13th, and 76 comments were posted within two hours. Most of these comments were negative about the potential MBUF or PennDOT itself. Readers may have concerns about how out-of-state miles will be tracked and taxed, concerns that gas taxes will actually disappear even if MBUF is implemented, and out-of-state drivers paying taxes to maintain roads. expressed concern about paying We are aware of the current mismanagement of PennDOT funds.
according to PennDOT website, the MBUF has multiple options for mileage reporting. This includes technologies that record and report mileage, technologies that record mileage manually and report it through smartphones, postal forms or online submissions, or technologies that record mileage during annual inspections.
The same website says that rural drivers may save money compared to gas taxes. However, this assumes that rural drivers drive less fuel-efficient vehicles than urban drivers. That said, his 2020 analysis by the Eastern Transportation Coalition says the rural Pennsylvania driver saves him about $34 a year through the MBUF compared to gas taxes.
According to the PennDOT FAQ, there are currently no firm plans to collect payments from out-of-state drivers, and the FAQ makes no mention of Pennsylvania drivers traveling out-of-state and how those miles are taxed. Hmm.
PennDOT did not provide a timeline for potential MBUF implementations when requested. PennDOT cannot implement the MBUF nor abolish the gas tax on its own. The Pennsylvania Legislature must approve PennDOT to implement his MBUF.
The PennDOT Pathway program is researching potential revenue options. You can contact the PennDOT Pathway through its website.
https://www.wkbn.com/news/pennsylvania/a-mileage-based-fee-for-pennsylvania-drivers/ Do Pennsylvania drivers pay per mileage?