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Gas Tax Replacement 'Road Charge' Being Discussed In Fresno

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A California Transportation Task  Force is starting a statewide tour in Fresno to look at a controversial proposal for raising more infrastructure money. The task force is examining a so-called ‘road charge’.

Sometimes called a vehicle mileage tax, a road charge would tax California residents based on the number of miles they drive.

The California Transportation Commission estimates the state needs 137-billion dollars in repairs to roads, highways and bridges over the next ten years.

Commission Executive Director Will Kempton says the existing gas tax is not nearly enough to cover the expense, and charging by the mile could be one way to replace that tax but still raise the funds.

“Notable because we are seeing a substantially more fuel efficient fleet. So a road charge or vehicle mileage fee may have some merit in California. First thing we need to do is test it. Does it work,” Kempton said.

Kempton says 15 other states are looking at a mileage charge.

The task force is beginning a seven-stop statewide tour to hear public reaction to the proposal in Fresno Friday.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.