ONLY A FEW MORE MILES TO GO!
This past fall, the WA RUC Steering Committee completed their final report assessing road usage charging in Washington. The Steering Committee transmitted its final report of findings to the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) in late September. The WSTC reviewed the final report and findings at their October 15 meeting and issued preliminary recommendations on the next steps for road usage charging in Washington state. Visit our Library page to read the final report of findings.
The WSTC will review comments received and adopt final recommendations at their December 17 meeting in Olympia. The WSTC’s final findings and recommendations, which incorporates the Steering Committee’s findings, will be transmitted to the Governor, the State Legislature, and the U.S. Department of Transportation in early January 2020.
WHAT IS THE WASHINGTON ROAD USAGE CHARGE PILOT PROJECT?
Washington has been exploring a potential gas tax replacement to fund our roads and bridges. Conducted by the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC), the test-driving phase of the Washington Road Usage Charge (WA RUC) Pilot Project ended in January 2019. Approximately 2,000 drivers participated in the year-long WA RUC Pilot Project, reported their mileage, and provided feedback to help state decision-makers understand if this potential policy could work for Washington drivers.
Take a peek into the driver’s seat of the Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Project
About halfway through the pilot, a handful of diverse participants hailing from all around the state opted to share their experiences on camera via in-person interviews. In the resulting “Participant Experience” video, the project team compiled this feedback to share a snapshot of what participation in the pilot looked like. Participants shared their experience with joining the pilot project, recording their miles and their key takeaways from the project.
WHY TEST A ROAD USAGE CHARGE?
Did you know that the current gas tax of 49.4 cents per gallon is used to fund the state’s roads and bridges? As cars become increasingly more fuel efficient and as more electric vehicles are on the road, gas tax revenue used to support our roads and bridges will decrease more each year. To ensure stable, long-term funding, we need to change the way we pay for our roads.
A potential solution
A road usage charge (RUC) system is a per-mile charge drivers would pay based on how many miles you drive, not how much gas you consume. This approach is similar to how people pay for their utilities, including electricity or water. The WA RUC Pilot Project tested a mock 2.4-cent-per-mile road usage charge for light-weight, non-commercial vehicles including gasoline-fueled, hybrid, and electric vehicles.
QUESTIONS THE PILOT WILL HELP ANSWER
- How does a road usage charge work for different drivers throughout the state?
- How do the different reporting methods tested work for drivers?
- Will a road usage charge enable us to better fund our transportation system in the future?
The test-driving phase of the pilot is over, but our work isn’t over yet! As we process all the resulting information and work to submit recommendations to decision makers in early 2020, you can stay looped in by signing up for our email interest list. We’ll send you regular updates on the progress of the pilot study as work moves forward.
Spread the word
Know someone who’d be interested in following along with the pilot? Spread the word!