Tom Warne Report, 3 August 2012
Oregon is planning a new study on whether a tax on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is a feasible replacement for the fuel tax, but this time the study is not relying on the use of global positioning satellites or GPS.
U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR, hosted a stakeholder forum July 24 in Washington, D.C., discussing plans to launch a three-month demonstration program in his state this fall. The program will involve 50 volunteers being taxed per mile driven using alternative on-board technologies and smartphone applications.
The first pilot program for a VMT in Oregon was conducted in 2006-07, but it mandated the use of GPS to track participants’ driving, which raised privacy concerns. The new model gives users the choice of which method to use to track their miles and how they will pay for the miles driven. According to the forum, volunteers can link their smartphones to on-board units such as GM’s OnStar, Ford’s Sync or other after-market devices.
An appointed Road User Fee Task Force in Oregon will report on the information compiled from the volunteers to the State Legislature in 2013.