Rep. Stanley Files Legislation to Identify Alternatives to the Gas Tax

In a letter to the chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation. Rep. Tom Stanley (D-Waltham) and Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield) requested favorable action on legislation they jointly filed to form small, voluntary Vehicle-Miles Travelled (VMT) pilot program to identify alternatives to the state gas tax.

House Bill 3010 would establish a mileage-based user fee task force to guide the development and evaluation of a pilot program to assess the potential for a mileage-based fee to replace motor fuel taxes. The task force would be required to gather public comment on issues relating to a pilot program, make recommendations to MassDOT on the design of a pilot program, and evaluate any pilot program implemented by MassDOT. Under the bill, MassDOT is required to develop and implement at least one mileage-based user fee pilot program that would last a year. The pilot must include at least 1,000 volunteers from across the Commonwealth who must be representative of drivers of trucks, passenger cars, and commercial vehicles. Volunteers will have on-board vehicle-mileage-counting equipment added to their vehicles

The pilot will test the reliability, ease of use, cost and public acceptance of technology and methods for (1) counting the number of miles traveled by particular vehicles; (2) reporting the number of miles traveled by particular vehicles; (3) collecting payments from program participants. The pilot will also review the ability of different technologies to protect data collection and reporting; ensure driver privacy; and vary pricing based on time of driving, type of road, proximity to transit, vehicle fuel efficiency, participation in car-sharing or pooling, or income of the driver. To ensure that program participants are not spending more on fees/taxes than if they had not participated in the program, they will be refunded by MassDOT for any gas taxes paid during the pilot.