Monterey County

Gas tax debated as Monterey County roads crumble

Gas tax proposal: Pay by the mile, not the gallon

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - The California Transportation Commission said when it comes to funding road improvements, the gas tax just isn't providing enough revenue. In April, the commission was in Monterey to look at a plan that would have drivers paying by the mile instead of the gallon.

"The gas tax hasn't been increased since 1994," Debbie Hale with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County said.

Hale said Monterey County roads are taking a beating.

"When you look at the pavement index out of a score of 100, the local pavement index is more like in the 60s and that's because the revenues haven't kept up," Hale said.

That seems to be the case across the state. Jim Madaffer heads up the Road Charge Technical Advisory Committee for California.

"We're traveling around the state seeking public input to find out what makes the most sense to replace the gas tax because it doesn't work anymore," Madaffer said.

Hybrids may be helping the environment. But Madaffer said gas tax revenues aren't doing enough.

"As people are getting better mileage in their cars, there's less money going into state "coffers." All you have to do is look at the roads," Madaffer said.

Madaffer said he's shopping the idea of having people pay for the miles they drive instead of paying extra for gas. But how do you keep track?

"We're looking at all kinds of options from stickers on windshields to paper and pen, to utilizing the technology that already exists in so many vehicles on the road today. To be able to basically log the miles and give motorists the ability to pay for what they drive," Madaffer said.

But not everyone agrees. Norm Groot with the Monterey County Farm Bureau is concerned the agricultural community will be unfairly taxed because most of their vehicles are off road and he doesn't want 45,000 ag employees paying for roads most of them aren't using.

"If we have to start paying for something that is not a derived benefit then obviously that's going to have some sort of impact on the ag operations," Groot said.


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