Planetizen Managing Editor James Brasuell tries to predict the big ideas and trends that will dominate the discussion about the future of land use, planning, and development in the first year of the new decade.
The advocacy division of Consumer Reports published a study to highlight the practice of what could soon be a majority of state governments: charging electric vehicle owners an additional registration fee to compensate for forgone fuel tax revenue.
Nevada is one of 15 states in the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium that are considering a transition from funding their transportation budgets largely by taxing the gallons of fuel that vehicles burn to charging drivers for miles driven.
Having completed a pilot program last year, the Washington State Transportation Commission will hear a report in October and vote in December on phasing out its 49.4 cents per gallon gas tax, fourth highest in the nation but not indexed to inflation.
Two UC Berkeley economists evaluated whether to charge electric vehicles a mileage fee since they pay no fuel taxes. A study from the Mineta Institute evaluated the impact of new EV registration fees and increased fuel taxes in California.
How will motorists who don't pay gas taxes fund road upkeep? That's one of the questions that the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hopes to answer this summer as they work to reauthorize the FAST Act before it expires on Sept. 30, 2020.
On July 1, Illinois and Ohio increased gas taxes by double digits: 19 cents per gallon and 10.5 CPG, respectively, followed by California at 5.6 CPG, all due to legislation passed this year or in 2017. Diesel tax hikes were even higher.
Currently, electric vehicles pay a $17.50 annual registration fee in Illinois. A bill to double the 19 cents per gallon gas tax, unchanged in almost 30 years, would also increase the EV fee over 57-fold to $1,000.
California has embraced electric vehicles like no other state, with success reflected in increased sales and registration data, yet transportation emissions have increased for the last four years, primarily from light-duty vehicles.
The 3 cent gas tax and 6 cent diesel tax increases are among the lowest of any states that have hiked fuel taxes since 2013, but combined with other revenue sources in the legislation, plus an upcoming sales tax ballot measure, it's historic.
On July 1, motorists in Ohio will pay an additional 10.5 cents per gallon to fill up, while truckers will pay 19 cents per gallon more on diesel fuel sales. Accompanying the tax hikes are two controversial provisions that DeWine chose not to veto.
Thanks to bipartisan cooperation and strong leadership from Gov. Kay Ivey, the Heart of Dixie passed it first fuel tax hike in 27 years. The 21 cents per gallon tax will increase by 10 cents in three increments by 2021 and then indexed to inflation.
When transportation spending was last reauthorized, rather than hike the gas tax to maintain current spending, Congress diverted general fund revenue. A program to study alternative revenue options was created so states could launch pilot projects.
Assembly and Senate Republicans agree that the best way to fill the transportation funding gap is to add tolls to existing highways and bridges, yet they won't add toll infrastructure funding to the budget. A gas tax could be implemented immediately.
What's the best way to ensure that electric vehicle drivers pay to maintain the roads they drive on, considering they don't pay fuel taxes? A new report from the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies was sent to the California legislature.
A controversial new sales tax on motor vehicles in a state with no sales taxes survived a court challenge. As a result, Oregon consumers will have another reason to consider purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle: receiving up to a $5,000 rebate.
Rep. Bill Shuster, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, wants to hike gas and diesel taxes by 15 and 20 cents per gallon, respectively, add two new user fees on bicycles and electric vehicles, and test VMT fees.
U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
One of the major reasons for purchasing an electric vehicle in California is the ability to use a carpool lane as a solo driver and use an express lane toll-free. The latter perk will soon disappear for solo-occupant EVs on two freeways.
One of the criticisms of gas taxes is that it is regressive, i.e., everyone pays the same per-gallon price. A Mississippi legislator has a solution: Eliminate the income tax on the lowest income bracket in exchange for hiking the gas tax 12-cents.
Two bills target hybrid and electric vehicles and even fuel efficient vehicles with new registration fees to increase road funding, as nine states did last year. However, many of those states also hiked gas taxes in the same legislation.
A summary report of California's 9-month pilot program to test the use of a mileage charge to replace the gas tax to fund road infrastructure has been released. Next steps include exploring available technology to implement the road charge.