The Spokesman-Review’s “Getting There” column in today’s paper mentions that a pilot project in Washington State to tax motorists by miles driven, rather than through a gas tax on fuel purchases, is now underway.

The Washington State Transportation Commission has enrolled 2,000 volunteers who represent the populations of the different regions of the state. About 60 percent of participants are from the central Puget Sound area, with 13 percent from Eastern Washington. The participant pool is also set up to reflect the demographic makeup of the state, including vehicle type and race, income, age and gender.

Almost 5,000 drivers signed up to take part. Those chosen were offered options on how to report the miles they drove during the yearlong pilot project. Nearly 30 percent opted for odometer readings, and will submit quarterly or monthly photos of their odometer using a mobile device or in person at vehicle licensing offices. About 34 percent chose to use a GPS tracker which automatically reports mileage and deducts miles driven on private roads or out of state. The rest chose other ways to track miles without GPS tracking.

Both SRTC’s Executive Director and our Admin Guru Julie were chosen to participate. Julie has agreed to provide us with periodic updates so we can see how the program works. She opted for the GPS tracker that plugs into her car under the dash. This was her first report from a couple weeks ago when she first installed the device. As you can see, she is paying a few cents more at this time to pay per mile than if going strictly by the gas tax.

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