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Oregon Tests By-the-Mile Taxes for Roadways

June 14, 2005View for printing

In 1919, Oregon enacted the nation's first gasoline tax. Now, it is testing another revolutionary strategy for raising revenue for the state's road projects. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will soon employ high-tech equipment that will charge drivers for the miles they travel rather than the amount of gasoline they consume. This is the first in a number of steps Oregon is considering to replace the gas tax as the primary revenue source for Oregon roads.

Testing will start in September when 20 privately owned cars are outfitted with electronic odometers to record their mileage at gas stations. Specially equipped gas pumps will read the mileage and charge 1.2 cents for every mile driven instead of the state's tax of 24 cents per gallon of gas. The cars also will be equipped with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) so drivers are not charged for driving outside state borders-the tax is only meant to be applied when drivers use Oregon roads.

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