March 26


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.

  • There has been some discussion of a mileage based tax in Oregon as well.
    One issue of note would be when driving across State lines. Would a Minnesota driver be taxed twice when refueling in North Dakota? (Assuming ND is using fuel tax and Minnesota is using mileage tax.) Or would they distinguish which miles were driven on Minnesota roads and which were not?
    Seems like getting all States on-board would make the transition a little more smooth.

  • Next Tuesday the Oregon ITE is holding a luncheon. The topic of the day is Oregon’s Mileage Fee Program. I’ll keep some notes and update you on where they stand.

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    Mike Spack

    My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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