NCGo! Backs Pay-as-You-Go Road Tax for N.C.

Posted March 7, 2008
Updated March 11, 2008

— North Carolina should scrap the state gasoline tax and fund road construction with a system based on how much people travel, according to an organization that pushes for improved transportation funding.

The 30-cent-per-gallon gas tax is the 15th-highest in the nation and is reviled by many state residents. Some people have said it no longer works as a funding mechanism for highway construction and maintenance because road costs continue to rise as fuel-efficient cars require less gas  and the tax produces less revenue.

"The long-term prognosis for our transportation system is not good unless we find more creative ways to meet our needs," said Beau Mills, chairman of the transportation advocacy group NCGo!

Federal and state officials are considering adopting a miles-usage fee to replace a gas tax. Instead of paying for the gallons of gasoline purchased, drivers would pay for the miles they drive.

"It connects the use of the resource, in this case the roads, to how much you use it," Mills said.

Under the system, devices similar to a satellite-tracking system would be placed in each car. They would communicate with wireless readers at gas stations to calculate a vehicle's mileage, and the tax would be added to the cost of any gas purchased.

The system could be adjusted to reflect the type of car driven and whether vehicles spend a lot of time in rush-hour traffic.

"(You) basically charge drivers a different rate for driving in those specific areas and those specific times," said David Kim, an industrial engineering professor at Oregon State University, which developed a miles-usage fee program for that state.

Oregon tested the technology from early 2006 until last March, and Innovation Management, a marketing research firm in Research Triangle Park, is among six sites across the country now trying it out.

Mills said privacy concerns present a major hurdle to adopting the new road-funding system.

"That raises some very valid concerns about, 'Wait a minute. So the government knows where I've been driving?' (It) smacks a little bit of 'Big Brother,' doesn't it?" he said.


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  • ratnix Mar 10, 2008

    I'd hate to have to have a vehicle whose sole purpose is to go to the gas station, identify itself to The Man, so I can fill up enough cans to get my runaround vehicle topped off.

    It's nobody's business where I go.

  • whatusay Mar 10, 2008

    At present the more gas you use the more taxes you pay...what could be more fair than that. If you own an 8mpg vehicle and drive alot you pay much more than a person with a Civic who gets 40mpg and drives less. SO THE STATE IS SAYING THAT A PERSON WHO OWNS A CIVIC AND DRIVES MORE, BUT USES LESS GAS SHOULD BE PAYING MORE IN TAXES THAN A PERSON WHO OWNS A GAS GUZZLER AND USES MORE GAS BUT DRIVES LESS. El STUPID...

  • Boot-the-DC-Tyrant Mar 10, 2008

    NCDOT and all their little civil engineers are a joke anyways...just like the gas tax!

  • ncwebguy Mar 10, 2008

    It is a shame that people perpetuate lies on here.

    The trust fund is being "raided" to pay for HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE out of the general fund. If maintenance was paid for by the trust fund, there would be no "stealing".

    The story says NC has the 15th highest gas tax. We are in the top *half*, but not in the top ten. During a trip last week, I noticed SC's gas tax is low but their roads are in poor shape. GA and FL gas cost the same as it does here in NC.

    It is sad that people want to steal from the general fund to pay for roads instead of paying their fair share via the gas tax. DOT could be more efficient, but those efficiencies won't be enough to build and maintain our road system over the next few decades.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Mar 10, 2008

    We need toll booths like they have in New Jersey and other states. That should pay the fees.

  • skidkid269 Mar 10, 2008

    It makes some sense, but it would cost more to install these devices on everyone's car and every gas station. Plus the maintenance of the system. If you want to do this, just calculate the mileage between vehicle inspections. Again, this saves people living out of state, or with out-of-state tags. I still think we need I-95 to become a toll road.

  • no taco p Mar 10, 2008

    This will not work, the state would have to spend too much money to install devices on every car that could track you position and communicate with a pump to send the mileage. But wait they don't, you already bought it. Doesn't your car already have GPS and Bluetooth (for YOUR Convenience, LOL).

  • Sonet-transport Mar 10, 2008

    I have told many people in my life that this was coming. The Left-coast is doing this. I think that if the government asked us to conserve and we do it then don't penalize us by doing what you asked. This would also be pointed at Raleigh Government as well - don't tell us to conserve water and then months later so you have done too good at conserving and now we have to pay more for water rates (and that is BEFORE you get to the tiered payments which penalize large families)
    TarheelsDontLikeEdwards I agree with the 1st statement about the state using all the funds for the ROADS and not something else, but as an owner of an SUV I don't want this at all. My next vechile will be much different than what I drive now or maybe I will be able to keep both and only us the SUV when making longer trips and need the size due to my family. But I will not let this government get the kind of data on me that this will provide, but we already have black boxes in new cars that they govn can tap.

  • wp Mar 10, 2008

    This is ridiculous. If we end paying Pay as you drive tax or whatever they want to call it, I want my gas for free.

  • Capt Mercury Mar 10, 2008

    Mileage monitors on every single vehicle? What about vehicles from outside the state? Do they get a free ride? What an unbelievably stupid idea!!! Oh yeah, this is from the NC DOT. Now I believe it. From the same folks who want to bring back toll roads.