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OREGON: Mileage-Based Road User Fee Evaluation

Under a mandate from the Oregon State Legislature, the Road User Fee Task Force (RUFTF) has examined various revenue raising alternatives for replacing the fuels tax as the primary source of revenues for Oregon's roads. The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is administering the task force. The driving motivation behind this effort is concern over the steadily eroding purchasing power of the fuels tax, a phenomenon resulting from: a) the fact that the fuels tax is not indexed for inflation; b) a general reluctance on the part of voters to approve periodic increases in the tax rate; and c) continued increases in the fuel efficiency of new vehicles, especially hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles. Given these issues, the Legislature asked the task force to evaluate the potential of alternate strategies to replace the fuels tax, focusing in particular on technical strategies for implementing a mileage-based charge and congestion pricing.

ODOT conducted a test designed to demonstrate the feasibility of area-wide, mileage-based road user fees as well as congestion pricing. The purpose of the pilot test was to demonstrate the technical and administrative feasibility of implementing an electronic collection system for mileage-based user fees and congestion tolls. The on-board technology was demonstrated in May of 2004. Twenty trial vehicles were equipped with the on-board devices in the Fall of 2005. In the spring 2006, after verifying successful functionality, 260 trial participants in Portland, Oregon, had the on-board equipment added to their vehicles. For a period of one year, participants paid distance charges rather than the fuels tax (when they filled up at the station, the fuels tax was deducted from the bill and the mileage charge was added).

At the conclusion of the study, ODOT successfully demonstrated the feasibility of both mileage-based user fees and congestion pricing.

Study Completed

The Oregon Department of Transportation released the final report for the Road User Fee Pilot Program on November 20, 2007. The report can be obtained at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/RUFPP/Pages/rucpp.aspx.

The ODOT is now conducting additional pilots that give drivers options and address security concerns, using devices without GPS as well as devices that link to GPS already in drivers' smart phones. As a result of the success of the pilot programs, Oregon is now considering making the mileage-based road user fee program into law in 2014. The law would require vehicles made in 2015 or later and getting at least 55 miles a gallon to pay the road user charge. Current reports can be found at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/RUFPP/docs/IP-Road%20Usage%20Evaluation%20Book%20WEB_4-26.pdf.

For More Information Contact

Maureen Bock
OReGO Program Manager
Phone: (503) 986-3835
E-Mail: Maureen.Bock@state.or.us


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