The Massachusetts legislature might be exploring a mileage tax similar to the pilot programs executed by the state of Oregon. A bill currently before the Massachusetts House Transportation Committee would direct the Massachusetts DOT to conduct a pilot project with at least 1,000 volunteers, according to the Boston Herald, to determine if a mileage-based user fee could effectively replace the gas tax, while preserving the privacy of the drivers involved.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Carl Sciortino and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, both Democrats. Some Republicans in the state have concerns about privacy under a mileage-based user fee.
“We take an opportunity to take a look at a whole broad range of things that I think you need to build support so that people feel comfortable with,” Transportation Committee Senate Chairman Tom McGee said. “I don’t have really a position right now on what we’re going to do on the committee on the bill, but I think it was really a healthy discussion today.”
Farley-Bouvier emphasized that the bill would create a voluntary pilot program and participants would not pay any more than they currently pay under the gas tax.
“Since 1980 fuel consumption has gone down by 50%, while vehicle-miles traveled have doubled,” said Rafael Mares, staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation.
The Massachusetts gas tax was raised 3 cents this year and indexed to inflation.