Letter to the Editor

In reference to the article in the Jan.29 issue of The Reflector regarding a plan to replace the gas tax with a per-mile driven fee, it is a bad idea!

I agree the current system is unfair with the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles not paying any fuel tax. However, changing to a per mile rate is not the right answer.

It raises many questions that need to be addressed, such as how would the state monitor the miles driven for our vehicles? What is the cost of regulating such a system? And would that cost outweigh the overall potential for revenue? Revenue is the tax minus the cost of regulation. Would the state hire more employees to regulate and monitor such a system? What about more computers for new employees to work with? What are the hidden costs?

Let’s not forget the current tax system of taxing every gallon of fuel (gas and diesel) is paid for by everyone with an internal combustion engine. That is every resident of our state plus every visitor, tourist and long haul trucker purchasing fuel in the state.

If the state goes to a per mile tax, it will eliminate all revenue gained from the visitors, tourists and truckers.

Washington has the third highest fuel tax in the nation of 49.4 cents per gallon. It’s only behind California and Pennsylvania. Add to that the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents and we pay 67.8 cents per gallon.

So let’s work on a fair tax for electric vehicles.

As for a slow transition from current tax to road usage over a 10-year period, that would be a disaster. I could see the state using both systems forever. I do not trust the state to have a single system in place in 10 years. Washington State Transportation Commission Executive Director Reema Griffith may be long gone from the state, and legislators come and go all the time. 

There may be no accountability from such people in 10 years.

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