DOT to Leg: Study mileage charge to fund highways

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With gas tax collections shrinking and expected to continue to decline as vehicles get more fuel efficient and use more alternative fuels, the Department of Transportation is envisioning a day when it will change the source of funding for new road construction.

“We want to study what the model is going to be in the future,” Florida Transportation Secretary Ananth Prasad told the Senate Transportation Committee Thursday. “The thought process is, we would get rid of gas tax and supplant it with a mileage-based-fee.”

Such a change would be a ways off, and need legislative approval, but Prasad has said for a couple of years that finding an alternative source of highway funding is critical, because tax collections are dropping dramatically. N

New Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Jeff Brandes agreed. “Obviously, one of the biggest issues in the state is the declining gas tax revenue,” Brandes said. Several states, led by Oregon, and the federal government have been studying mileage-based user fees as a way of funding road building.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.