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'Road Charging' Pilot Program Aimed At Offsetting Gas Tax Loss

LOS ANGELES ( — With more fuel efficient vehicles on California's roads, a pilot program set to launch in July is the state's next step toward replacing the gas tax with a road charge.

The California Road Charge Pilot is looking to sign up 5,000 volunteers throughout the state to help test road charging as a potential replacement to the state's gas tax. Road charging is being considered by the state to fund road repairs based on miles driven, rather than on each gallon of gasoline purchased.

This 9-month pilot program, which is set to launch in July 2016, will have volunteers choose between a time permit, a mileage permit, an odometer charge and in-vehicle technology that would report mileage to a third-party account manager, which would then send a simulated invoice to the volunteer.

Road charging is being considered because state officials say current gas tax revenue is insufficient for preserving and maintaining road infrastructure and reducing congestion. According to the state, even as gas tax revenue declines, more cars are using California's roads and wear and tear on roadways is increasing.

By 2030, state officials believe as much as half of the revenue that could have been collected from the gas tax will be lost to fuel efficiency.

Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New York and Texas are also exploring road charging as a way to replace the gas tax.

Drivers interested in participating in the pilot program can sign up at California Road Charge or learn more from the California Department of Transportation.

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