According to a Minnesota Public Radio article by Tim Nelson, Governor Pawlenty wants Minnesota to test a mileage tax. He signed $5 million dollars into law for the current biennium to study the issue. Governor Pawlenty said, "Cars aren't going to be powered by fuel, probably. They're going to be powered by different things… so we need to think about how we're going to pay for transportation down the road." (He is a punster.)
Mn/DOT already studied the mileage tax concept in 2007. Experts in the study claimed "mileage based fees are a solution that will likely not be necessary nor feasible for at least 10 years." Participants surveyed for the study were also very concerned about being watched by Big Brother.
There are definitely hurdles to transitioning to a mileage tax, but I applaud Governor Pawlenty for studying the issue. The gas tax is not a viable long term funding source for our transportation infrastructure. Hopefully the spike in oil prices last year have opened the political door for this discussion.