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California lawmakers looking at ‘voluntary’ tax-by-the-mile program for motorists

It’s unknown how much the California tax would be, but Oregon currently charges its volunteers 1.5 cents per mile. Shown is gridlock on the Los Angeles freeway. (The Trucker file photo)

The Trucker News Services

5/6/2014

BUENA PARK, Calif.  — The California Legislature is looking at a voluntary program that would tax motorists for every mile they drive.

KCAL9’s Bobby Kaple reports that Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, introduced a bill to test out the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax because the state’s gas tax was no longer bringing in the revenue it used to due to people driving more fuel efficient vehicles.

The program is modeled after ones in Oregon and Washington.

“We want to do as Washington and Oregon have done in a much bigger state with much longer commutes…to make sure that we find out whether it would work, whether the public would like it or not,” DeSaulnier said.

It’s unknown how much the tax would be, but Oregon currently charges its volunteers 1.5 cents per mile.

“All of those things would be determined. We would let the agency determine that because this would be a voluntary program,” DeSaulnier said.

Southland commuters were not thrilled about the idea of a VMT tax.

“I bought a hybrid … one, because of my drive. I’m very opposed. I drive to Brentwood every day from Burbank, and I am already paying more than I should be,” Carmen Smith said.

“So if we go on vacation and I drive up to Mammoth, that’s 600 miles. We’re being taxed on vacations?” Kim Robinson said.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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