Idea to Tax Drivers By the Mile Gathers Support in Washington

Washington's top transportation official has indicated support for the idea of beefing up transportation funds by taxing drivers by the mile.

"Washington state should allow a pilot project to tax drivers by the mile in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, a Seattle official said Tuesday."

"'Let us try it,' Seattle Department of Transportation Director Grace Crunican said during a morning Urban Land Institute discussion on how to meet massive and changing infrastructure needs."

"...David Dye, deputy secretary of the Washington Department of Transportation, said state residents are not ready to accept paying for roads, and routinely point out that 'freeway' has 'free' right in the name.

But tolls are coming back to the central Puget Sound, Dye said. 'That's going to be a critical part of how we finance our transportation infrastructure in the future.'

Washington has around $80 billion in unfunded transportation infrastructure needs, with about half of that in the central Puget Sound, Dye said."

Full Story: Let's try taxing drivers by the mile, Seattle official says



Size matters

VMT-taxing should be calibrated to weight, so that a Hummer pays a higher rate per mile than a Mini. After all, the cost to society in terms of road wear, accidental damge, etc. is higher for higher weight vehicles.

Size matters, but size is not always interchangeable with weight

I half agree and half disagree with you. I agree that a Hummer should pay more per mile/kilometre than a Mini, but realistically, the Hummer is still extremely light when compared with a delivery truck and essentially does no damage to the pavement. And if you live in a northern climate (like I do in Winnipeg) the freeze-thaw cycles do much more damage than any non-commercial vehicles do.

Charging based on VMT (VKT in Canada) is a good idea, but it is essentially a charge to recoup the costs of congestion and environmental damage. The Hummer should pay more based on its size and its contribution to congestion, not pavement damage. Weight is a factor but only as it contributes to bad gas mileage, which is maybe another thing that vehicles should be charged based on.

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