Monterey County

Proposed legislation seeks to tax miles driven for California drivers

New bill looks into taxing 5 cents per mile driven instead of tax by gallon

Mileage tax?

MONTEREY, Calif. - Right now the gas tax is basically on an even playing field for all drivers - everyone is taxed 52 cents per gallon. But with more fuel efficient cars on the highways, the state is not getting as much money from the gas tax. A new bill is proposing taxing you per mile.

"I live in Gonzalez, commute over here to Salinas everyday," said Joe Mazzuca. "After I drive around during the day and everything probably like 60 miles a day."

Mazzuca said for the week, it costs $80 to keep him commuting. But a proposed gas tax legislation could mean Mazzuca will be taxed more for gas than someone who doesn't drive far for work.

The new bill proposes replacing the state gas tax from 52.9 cents a gallon to a "miles driven" fee of .05 cents per mile.

"I don't agree with it -so many people do commute to Silicon Valley and live down in this area, that tax, .05 cent a mile is going to cost them more," said Dawn Bright.

In fact, 17,000 people in Monterey County commute out of the area per day. The average commute is 21 miles a day.

Using that average, here's the math: .05 cents per mile at 21 miles would mean $1.05 would be the amount you'd be taxed.

State transportation leaders support the tax and say it's a way to make up for the loss fuel-efficient cars have caused. A federal highway fund is expected to go bankrupt at the end of summer, this new tax would go towards fixing roads.

"It seems like they are trying to nickel and dime all of us," said Bright.

Transportation leaders say this approach focuses on those who use state and federal roads, not gas.

"I think we get taxed on on enough around here already but especially with driving," said Mazzuca.

This is in the very beginning stages.  State leaders have not yet determined how the miles driven will be tracked.

Other states like Washington and Oregon have done studies on this approach. Oregon studied an option where drivers pay a yearly fee instead of a per mile tax.

Cal-trans will be looking into a variety of other ways including actual tracking devices in your car. If this legislation passes, a pilot program will be put into place in an undetermined city in 2017.

The full text of the bill is here.

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