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Per-mile vehicle tax could generate more revenue for DOT

Posted April 3

— Slowly but surely, technology is helping North Carolina drivers change the way they move. Cars are more fuel efficient every year, and electric cars don't use fuel at all.

The reduced fuel consumption has the cash-strapped state Department of Transportation trying to figure out how to generate more money to offset the loss of the gasoline tax, which is used to help maintain state roads. Officials are considering taxing drivers by the mile, a move that could raise hundreds of millions of dollars.

"People are driving more and paying less," said Leigh Lane of the Institute of Transportation Research and Education. "

In North Carolina since 2002, construction costs have almost doubled, Leigh Lane, with the Institute of Transportation Research and Education, said during a DOT meeting Wednesday to discuss new ways to keep up with the state’s constructions needs.

Under the per-mile proposal, the state would check mileage totals during annual inspections or even place GPS systems on vehicles to track travel.

At a half-cent per mile, researchers say, the tab for an average driver in the state would be about $75 per year.

"We need a billion dollars a year in new money to continue to keep our transportation funding at a desirable level," Larry Goode, a former DOT administrator, said.

Transportation officials haven't made any final decisions.

390 Comments

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  • Strawberry Letter 23 Beth Wilson Apr 4, 7:19 p.m.

    Fine as long as you ditch the gasoline tax.

    — Posted by jcthai

    This per mile vehicle tax, would be IN ADDITION TO, the gasoline tax.

  • Strawberry Letter 23 Beth Wilson Apr 4, 7:11 p.m.

    .........and here is the rest of their e-mail to me.

    No decision is close to being made about which idea would work best here, as each has pros and cons and will need considerable study. And if any move ahead in the process, the General Assembly would still have to give its approval.

  • Strawberry Letter 23 Beth Wilson Apr 4, 7:09 p.m.

    I actually heard back from the DOT! Here is the FIRST part of their reply. I have to put it in two comments, due to the character restriction.

    Dear Ms. Wilson:

    The media reports about the VMT have been a bit misleading as it is not an idea the Department is leaning toward or even focusing on. The Department hired a consultant to look for possible new funding sources as we look for ways to balance declining federal and state transportation revenue, aging infrastructure, and the need to expand that infrastructure to keep up with rapid growth and create more jobs.

    What happened today was that the consultant presented its study to a Board of Transportation committee. And VMT was just one of several ideas presented in that study that can be used for transportation revenue. The report never mentioned use of a GPS either. It just included data about what each of those ideas could bring for North Carolina, but did not focus on any specific idea over others.

  • ateaglefalls Apr 4, 5:49 p.m.

    Well looks like a re-hash of Nelson Cole's Vehicle Mileage Tax plan from the 21 Century Transportation plan. That was what got him replace by an Unaffiliated candidate Dr. Jones from Rockingham County. Wasn't a good plan then and not one now. If DOT can not manage their budget may I suggest stopping the free ride ferries from Minnesott Beach to Cherry Branch - the people who ride this are primarily civilian contractors at Cherry Point Marine Air Station (they can afford it) and Aurora - Bayview Ferry (they mostly work at PCS Phosphate (they make big bucks too). Stop the giveaways before you start plundering the hard working people who mostly drive to work and back and you already get the gas tax. The free Ferry riders don't even pay the tax on the Diesel fuel burned by the ferries.

  • NATIVENC Apr 4, 5:01 p.m.

    You have got to be kidding me....... the goverment thinks they are going to tax us by the mile. holy moley, try cutting back on the vehicles that the dot buys, try trimming the budget, why not have the unemployed and those on walfare or even convicts out there working on the roads , safe some money that way, or better yet when you accept a proposal and they finshis the job, and it starts to crumble and cheap shotty work make the contrator fix in and not pay them as the dot has done in the past,

  • iopsyc Apr 4, 4:45 p.m.

    Fine as long as you ditch the gasoline tax.

    — Posted by jcthai

    They can't do that without charging more than proposed $0.005 per mile traveled. They collect far more than $75 in gas tax revenue now, so they would need to either add this mileage tax , or replace the gas tax with a mileage tax of a higher rate.

    Assuming 15,000 miles, and getting 30 mpg a driver burns 500 gallons of gas a year.
    Gas tax is $0.375 per gallon, so they pay $187.50 in gas taxes now (500*0.375=187.5)

  • mistervegas Apr 4, 4:24 p.m.

    That's great if you want to tax everyone who lives in NC and drives a car, but what about everyone else that drives through our state including the truckers. Big semi trucks are hard on our roads. Installing GPS tracking system in every car is certainly not the way. Who thinks up these stupid ideas any way.

  • jcthai Apr 4, 3:55 p.m.

    "Under the per-mile proposal, the state would check mileage totals during annual inspections or... View More

    — Posted by BonarisNoMore

    Sigh. Think about all the miles driven by people who don't live in NC. Someone has to pay for their road use. It will be NC drivers who pay for them via the miles that NC drivers drive in other states. Just like drivers in other states have to pay somehow for the miles that NC drivers drive in their states.

  • jcthai Apr 4, 3:53 p.m.

    If they want to have a sweeping change over and lose all seats gained then by all means add this... View More

    — Posted by breckar

    Dude, put your thinking cap on. If they collect this tax per vehicle, the KNOW what kind of a vehicle it is. They can then charge different rates for different vehicles if needed. As for miles driven out of state, the miles you drive in other states will be offset by miles driven by cars from outside the state. Rather than try to tax every car in the country, NC would just tax its own citizens just like other states would tax just their citizens. It is a wash.

  • jcthai Apr 4, 3:50 p.m.

    So the guy that drives a 1500 pound VW bug and gets 40 miles per gallon will be taxed at the... View More

    — Posted by Wags

    Not necessarily. If they collect the tax at the time of the annual inspection, and tie it to the car's registration, they know what kind of car you drive and theoretically could charge different rates.

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