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WELCOME, BRITISH COLUMBIA DRIVERS!

WASHINGTON ROAD USAGE CHARGE PILOT PROJECT

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST

Thank you for your interest in helping the City of Surrey, and our region, understand how a potential Washington road usage charging system could affect Canadian travelers to the United States. The Washington pilot program will explore the idea of charging for distance traveled as a new way to fund transportation systems. Your direct involvement, by participating as a Canadian driver, will provide valuable first-hand experience and input as our neighbour examines the concept of charging drivers based on how much they use Washington’s road system, instead of how much gasoline they buy, as they do today. Surrey has signed on as an official pilot partner to recruit up to 200 Canadian vehicles to participate in the year-long pilot program. We see this as a unique opportunity to test how this new system might work across international borders and to learn from Washington’s experience at no cost to participants, and no charge to our region.

As a pilot participant, you will contribute to transportation policy in the Pacific Northwest by helping state lawmakers answer questions like:

  • What is electronic reporting of distance traveled like?
  • How easy is a road usage charge system to participate in and to administer?
  • What is your experience, as a British Columbian, interacting with a U.S. road usage charging system?

Here’s How It Works

Here's how it works: steps

PLUG AND PLAY MILEAGE REPORTING

As a participant, your mileage will be recorded after installing an automated mileage meter (with a GPS chip embedded) into your car’s diagnostic port (the OBD-II port). You will receive this plug-in device by mail along with easy instructions on where to plug it in. After installation, the device will report your mileage automatically without anything more on your part.

On a monthly basis, you will receive a mock Washington Road Usage Charge invoice which will take only a couple minutes of your time to review. You will also be asked to complete a short feedback survey about every three months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Surrey

Why is Surrey participating in the Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot Program (WA RUC)?

Surrey was invited in 2016 to participate in WA RUC by the Washington State Transportation Commission to test how this new system might work across international borders. Surrey accepted this offer to learn about road usage charging since the concept has recently emerged in the western United States with pilots in Oregon, California, Colorado and now, Washington state.

What is road pricing?

Road pricing is a common practice in several jurisdictions where road users pay a fee according to the frequency and/or time of use on new and/or existing road infrastructure. A primary goal of road pricing is to generate revenue to recover capital and operating costs. A number of approaches to road pricing are available to raise funds to maintain the transportation network. A full-network pricing scheme charges a flat fee for the use of roads over an entire transportation area, based on distance travelled and assigning a per-mile (per-kilometre) fee.

How is this initiative related to the Mobility Pricing discussion currently underway in BC?

There is no connection between WA RUC and the work of our own Mobility Pricing Independent Commission. The Mobility Pricing Commission has been established to undertake research, extensive consultation, and to ultimately make recommendations on a coordinated approach to pricing transportation in the Metro Vancouver region. It’s exploring a broad set of mobility pricing options, while WA RUC is focused on studying only one option: distance-based road pricing.

Participation

What does it mean to participate in the pilot as a Canadian resident?

A Canadian participant will pay no new taxes or fees but experience what it would be like to pay for road usage by distance travelled in Washington state. Participants install a mileage metering device received in the mail into their cars by plugging it into the car’s diagnostics port (OBD-II port) and then driving as usual. It is very simple to install the device and all distance travelled is reported automatically.

Once a month, participants receive a mock invoice via email that will look like a real road usage charge invoice but nothing will be owed. Participants will see, however, how a real road usage charge would be invoiced and paid. Participants will be asked to stay in the pilot for 12-months and drive across the border into the state of Washington at least three times over the year.

How is my privacy protected?

For Canadian participants, WA RUC will utilize a Canadian vendor for mileage reporting and account management services. None of the personal information collected will be stored or accessed outside of Canada. The WA RUC project team will receive anonymous aggregate summary data for analysis and reporting–individuals will not be identified. All data will be destroyed at the end of the pilot.

Does this mean that Metro Vancouver wants to impose a road usage charge on its residents?

No. Metro Vancouver is examining a broad set of options through the work of the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission.

Who is Surrey inviting to participate in the WA RUC pilot?

The City of Surrey is extending personal invitations to local transportation influencers and policy decision makers throughout Metro Vancouver who have an interest in regional transportation issues. The opportunity is also open to residents throughout the region who make frequent trips into the United States.

Are there any limitations on vehicle types that can participate in the pilot?

No. All that’s necessary is that you have access to a private vehicle (sorry no car share vehicles at this time) and that you use it to drive across the border at least 3 times a year.

Sign up!

The City of Surrey has been invited to help us recruit over one hundred resident drivers from British Columbia to enroll in the Washington Road Usage Charge Pilot. If you want to participate, or have someone in your office to do so on your behalf, sign up now.