Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) is speaking out about the proposed voluntary pilot study of a gas tax alternative, and he’s also killing a few rumors about the controversial bill that would look at the feasibility of taxing Californians by how many miles they drive.
The following information is from Senator Mark DeSaulnier:
“SB 1077 authorizes the California Transportation Agency to merely conduct a voluntary pilot program to study the feasibility of using a mileage-based fee to replace the existing gas tax. The program would be completely voluntary—no one would be forced to participate. The bill does not allow the California Transportation Agency to even collect fees from volunteers participating in the study. The bill asks the California Transportation Agency to conduct what amounts to a hypothetical dry run of a mileage-based fee and report its findings to the Legislature.
The gas tax is ultimately an unsustainable way to fund adequate maintenance of our roads. We will need to examine several alternatives to the gas tax. SB 1077 allows us to study one of those alternatives.”
-Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord)
Frequently Asked Questions: SB 1077
Q: What does this bill do?
A: SB 1077 requires the California Transportation Agency to conduct a pilot project to study the challenges and opportunities of implementing a mileage-based fee to replace the existing gas tax. California Transportation Agency will then report to the Legislature on specific issues related to privacy, cost, and fairness.
This bill DOES NOT:
• allow California Transportation Agency to force anyone to participate in the pilot project
• allow California Transportation Agency to charge a fee or a tax
• have anything to do with raising taxes on anyone
Q: Why study this issue?
A: The gas tax is ultimately an unsustainable way to fund our transportation system. We need to ensure that we can continue adequate maintenance of our roads.
California is not alone in facing a transportation fiscal cliff. In order to address this challenge, states have been considering various ways to eventually replace the gas tax. A mileage-based fee (MBF) is one of several alternatives. SB 1077 allows us to test the feasibility of this particular option.
Q: Who will participate in the pilot?
A: This bill does not force anyone to participate in the pilot program. It is completely voluntary.
Media reports that an entire California city will be chosen to participate in the study are false.
Q: Does this increase any taxes? Will I be taxed twice?
A: No, this bill does not increase taxes. It doesn’t even allow the state to collect money to administer the pilot. The bill is intended to explore ways to replace the existing base gas tax, not supplmenet the tax base.
Additionally, the bill does not specify an amount of money to be charged for any potential mileage-based fee. Media reports suggesting that the state will begin implementing a mileage-based fee of $0.05 per mile are erroneous.
Q: How will my information be used if I volunteer to participate?
A: SB 1077 specifies that as minimal as possible personal information is collected for the study. Part of the reason for conducting the study is to see if a mileage-based fee could be collected in a manner that is respectful to the privacy of taxpayers.