mileage tax

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Washington state senators have teed up a mileage-based tax for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as the first step toward changing how the state pays for road maintenance and other transportation needs. Policymakers expect gas tax revenue to decline long term. Oregon has been experimenting with a per-mile charge for years.

Washington Department of Transportation

The panel that sets highway and bridge tolls in Washington is recommending the state follow Oregon's lead and phase in a pay-by-the-mile road tax to make up for expected declines in gas tax revenue. The nonbinding recommendation to the Washington Legislature from the state Transportation Commission drew flak from skeptical taxpayers and faces a bumpy road ahead in the 2020 election year.

Portland Development Commission

Oregon’s new pay-by-the-mile program called OReGO is one month along. The idea is to re-capture tax revenue from people who drive a lot but don’t have to buy much gas.

But it may work out differently.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

PORTLAND - Washington and Oregon are getting serious about finding a replacement for the gas tax. Steadily improving fuel efficiency in cars is eroding the primary source of road funding in the Northwest. A new report to the 2013 Washington Legislature finds it "feasible" to have drivers pay by the mile instead. In Oregon, lawmakers have actually drafted legislation to do just that.

Suburban Portland SUV owner Mary Olson has possibly glimpsed the future of how we'll pay for roads, although it's tricky to spot.