CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the not-too-distant future, a vehicle mileage fee could replace or supplement the state gas tax as a way to fund state highway construction and maintenance, state Transportation Secretary Paul Mattox said Wednesday.
"This is going to be the mechanism of the future, because of the increase in fuel mileage for vehicles," Mattox told the Senate Finance Committee.
On a divided voice-vote, the committee advanced to the full Senate a bill (SB354) to authorize the Division of Highways to study alternatives to the state gas tax to fund highway construction and maintenance.
"We see the future of fuel tax revenue going down with more fuel-efficient vehicles," Mattox said.
Earlier this session, Mattox told the committee that state Road Fund revenues will fall $8.5 million in the coming budget year, as federal funding and state gas tax collections decline. Meanwhile, the state needs an additional $1.3 billion a year to fully fund all road construction and maintenance needs.
Under the bill, the division can look at various alternative-funding options, but Mattox said charging a fee for miles traveled is the most practical alternative.
"The one thing that seems to have interest nationwide is vehicle miles traveled," he said.