Leaders think pay-by-mile tax will work in Washington

A report out Wednesday outlines why local leaders think the idea for a pay-by-mile tax will work in Washington State.

The report paints a bleak picture of transportation funding.

Even though voters approved a $16 billion transportation bill last year, the Transportation Futures Task Force -- a group of mayors, commissioners, county executives, and local CEOs --  are going to approve the report Wednesday, saying if the state doesn’t adopt new ideas like pay-by-mile, its roads will continue to deteriorate.

The report outlines a pilot program that would eliminate the gas tax, which is 37.5 cents a gallon, and instead pay for each mile driven -- probably about 2 cents a mile.

The task force says more than a million additional people will live and work in the Puget Sound area by 2040 and the current funding sources of gas-taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, license fees and tolling  won't sustain the future transportation needs.

Drivers who KIRO 7 spoke with are split on the idea.

The State Transportation Commission has already signed off on a pilot program to test pay-by-mile, so the Task Force report is more of a stamp of approval.

The state's pilot program will give drivers a choice of having a GPS device record the miles driven or a smartphone app that would connect to their vehicle’s Bluetooth network.

Drivers would also have the option to pay flat fee for unlimited miles for the month or year.

Details when the test project could begin haven't been released.

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