State studies taxing you on how many miles you drive

13
2043

Legislative study committee endorses pilot mileage tax program


By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor


(The Center Square) — The Joint Study Committee on the Electrification of Transportation has endorsed the Georgia Department of Transportation’s pilot program taxing motorists based on vehicle miles traveled.

Charging a mileage tax would recoup what state leaders see as a potential loss in revenue via the gas tax. Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, suspended the gas tax to help Georgians counter rising inflation.

So far, the state hasn’t seen much of an impact from not collecting the gas tax, which typically totals about $170 million per month. The state has seen its other revenues increase and has turned to federal handouts for various initiatives, such as grants to increase broadband across the state.

In the report, the committee said it supports enforcing a “fair methodology to replace the loss in revenue from motor fuel taxes” and recommends legislative action requiring the Georgia Department of Transportation to determine a “fair road usage charge for all EVs operating in Georgia.”

“The Study Committee recommends that any legislative action taken to recoup the shortfall in the collection of the gas tax be carefully constructed so that emerging technology and fuel sources can easily be incorporated into a formula or process,” the committee wrote in its final report.

Fees “such as road usage charges or vehicle miles traveled should be comparable to the fuel tax paid by an equivalent conventional vehicle,” the committee concluded.

In a statement, state Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, said the “report will be used as a reference for potential legislation to be introduced in the future and grant the General Assembly the knowledge it needs to make informed decisions on the future of electric vehicles in our state.”

The report includes several proposed EV charging, permitting, training, and planning recommendations.

“The market for electric vehicles continues to expand both across the state and nation,” state Rep. Rick Jasperse, R-Jasper, said in a statement. “In order for Georgia to capitalize on the potential electric transportation can bring to our freight and logistics industry, we need to ensure we have the proper infrastructure in place to support expected demand.”

GDOT officials said the agency would continue to work with stakeholders and the Eastern Transportation Coalition, a partnership of 17 states and the District of Columbia, on a mileage-based user fee pilot program.

“GDOT respects the report of the Committee and will work with the House and Senate as they consider any legislative implementation,” the agency told The Center Square in a statement.

13 COMMENTS

  1. First, they have to pass a law that transportation taxes can only be spent on- transportation, and preferably roads insulted by fluff like crosswalks.

    Second they need to eliminate the transportation tax on gasoline.

    Then a mileage tax makes very good sense. Excellent in fact. Everything should be pay to play to be fair. Somehow I’m not sure their definition of fair will be, well, fair.

    So, will there be a mileage check point for all out of state cars at the border?

    I’ll definitely save money on my cart (low speed vehicle).

  2. STF and Lever Up – Why the snarky comments on something that should be bipartisan?

    Do you propose to allow EV owners to continue freeloading on the backs of the rest of us who pay the fuel tax for our roads and bridges?

    A majority of states already use taxes and fees on EVs to recover some of the lost tax revenue. If you read the story, GA is working as part of a 17 state group to implement the mileage-based program.

    I support closing a tax loophole where the revenue will clearly support a legitimate government priority. It’s not as if the money goes to pay off someone else’s student loans, subsidize an $80,000 EV, border security in the Middle East (but not the US) or sends $200,000,000 for gender equity programs in Pakistan.

    • Hi Catman – I have no problem with taxing EV owners for road maintenance. It’s just funny to see conservatives suggest tax increases when they are usually so irresponsible in cutting taxes without cutting spending and thus, driving up the deficit. You know, that elusive “trickle down economics” that has never worked – except to trickle something yellow onto the poor folks at the bottom.

      But you are accurate in pointing out the need for all drivers to pay for roads and bridges.

    • When Trump took office in 2017, the national debt was 19.9 trillion. In January 2019 with Republicans in control of the WH and both branches of Congress, the national debt grew to 22.7 trillion. And by January 2021 when Trump left office, the debt was 27.75 trillion (a 39% increase from the day he took office). In Joe Biden’s first two years it has grown to 31.24 trillion (too much, but only 12% so far).

      The point is that Republicans always want to cut taxes, but when they are in power, they never want to cut spending. When they are not in power, they always want to cut spending. The liberals want to increase spending all the time, but they are at least responsible enough to raise the taxes to pay for it. Bill Clinton was the last president to offer a balanced budget (actually a surplus).

      I wish both parties would stop overspending and be mature enough to raise taxes to pay down the credit card that our nation keeps running up!

      • STF – a technicality, perhaps, but in this instance GA is closing a loophole to have all drivers pay to support roads and bridges. Not a tax increase.

        I stand with you on government over-spending. I have nothing good to say for any politician, D or R, who joins the insane fiscal irresponsibility of Washington DC – – which is to say almost all of them.

        I disagree that increasing taxes is the primary solution. We’re taking in record federal revenues, so it’s a wild, non-essential spending problem that needs to be fixed.

        I heard today that each taxpayer now owes almost $250,000 as their share of the national debt. I hope it is not too late to save our nation from financial ruin.

        • Catman. I think we are essentially in agreement. I would like to see extensive spending cuts, especially to the military budget. However, since both parties in Congress have proven that they absolutely will not cut spending when they are in power, it seems only responsible to raises taxes instead of putting it on the national credit card.

          Any serious spending reductions must be in Social Security, Medicare, and defense because cutting other programs would merely be a pittance in our bloated budget. I’ll not hold my breath to see anything serious discussed. I’m sure we will see plenty of fighting about the costs of programs that are merely rounding errors on our national budget.

          • STF – I’m good with reviewing where we spend our military funds, but near-term circumstances may require increased spending, since we have taken on Ukraine and China / Taiwan is just around the corner. National security is the primary mission of federal government.

            The Department of Education is redundant to state-level and thus low-hanging fruit for cutting. IRS would be too if we could agree on a fair tax or flat tax. Lots of other smaller, obsolete programs should go as well.

            Our open southern border has allowed millions (yes, millions) to cross, yet most have no prospect of self-support. That’s more unnecessary government spending, not to mention the crime, drugs, sex trafficking, and national security risk that comes with them.

            Agree on Social Security and Medicare, and would add our veterans. We may have to increase SS taxes on workers to save it for current and near-term retirees, but also increase the full retirement age and allow personal investments for young people to preserve it for their old age.

            Best solution is to require a balanced budget with prioritized spending on legitimate federal functions. No more pork! Out of control government spending put us into this inflation spiral, and soon the interest we pay on our national debt will be the largest federal expense. That’s unforgivable.

            We are beyond the time to debate whether we should regain control over federal government spending. It must be done. Now.

    • Sorry – this is just another GA GOP cash grab so they can make it rain on election year to by votes like they do every. single. election. cycle.

      The gas tax has been suspended for months and has almost no impact on our budget. We have a $6.6 BILLION dollar surplus – they should be lowering taxes across the board. Period.

      But yea I pay the gas tax on the other 6 cars I have that use gas.

      • Lever – What makes you think that fixing a tax problem in funding roads and bridges equates to a Republican cash grab? How does that square with the other states (most run by D’s) that do the same thing?

        If the state has a $6 billion dollar surplus, then I absolutely agree taxes should be lowered across the board so all who pay taxes get to keep more of their money.

        PS No one cares how many cars you say you have.