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Mileage-based Road User Fees Discussed at Florida Leaders Summit

Florida motorists could one day pay a fee based on how far they drive. The idea of mileage based fees was discussed at the Florida Leaders Summit in Orlando Thursday, in a panel moderated by the Florida Department of Transportation secretary Ananth Prasad.

Prasad says gas taxes aren’t generating as much revenue as they did before, partly because cars are becoming more fuel efficient. He says there are several ways to charge for mileage.

“One option could be when you pump gas, you have to put in your license number and you put in your odometer reading. The technological solution is already there if you want to go to some sort of per mileage based fee", explained Prasad. "The issue is more public policy, privacy concerns and the liberties we take for granted. We’ve got to balance those issues.”

Other options include tacking an odometer based fee onto vehicle tag renewal, or issuing drivers with a transponder to track how far they travel. 

Other states are also exploring the idea. This year Oregon lawmakers authorized a program where drivers can volunteer to pay a mileage based fee rather than the state gas tax. Oregon’s Road User Charge Program is expected to be up and running by 2015, and is limited to 5,000 approved volunteers.

Ananth Prasad says if Florida adopts a similar program, it probably won’t be for another 10 to 15 years.

The Florida Leaders Summit is organized by Justin Sayfie, who runs the news aggregation site the Sayfie Review. The summit, which also includes panels on education, tourism and health care, wraps up today.