California lawmaker proposes testing plan to tax drivers by the mile
'Angry driver in the car' [Shutterstock]

A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would allow the state to monitor the effects of taxing motorists by the mile, KNBC-TV reported on Tuesday.

Senate bill 1077, which was introduced by State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier's (D) last week, would institute a pilot program in a city yet to be determined that would allow it to tax drivers 5 cents per mile. Similar programs have already been established in Washington state and Oregon.

DeSaulnier, who leads the state Senate Transit Committee, told KNBC that the increasing use of fuel-efficient vehicles has damaged the state's ability to collect on the state gasoline tax, which runs about 52.9 cents per gallon. That lack of revenue has, in turn, affected the state's ability to pay for bridge and road repairs.

"We've got to figure out how to pay for infrastructure," DeSaulnier was quoted as saying. "Our philosophy is, if you use it, you should pay for it."

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which covers those types of repairs, will reach zero on Aug. 29. If implemented on a national level, the mileage tax could also replace the federal gas excise tax of 18.4 cents per gallon.

"We will have to have a future funding source because the existing source is not enough," Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) head Hasan Ikhrata said at a meeting discussing the proposal last week. "We have bridges that are in need of repair."

Ikhrata's group estimated that taxing drivers five cents a mile starting in 2025 could raise more than $110 million apiece for Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernadino and Ventura counties. SB 1077 stipluates that the pilot program would have to report its findings in January 2017.

Watch KNBC's report, as aired on Tuesday, below.

[Image: "Angry Driver In The Car," via Shutterstock]