Faced with shrinking revenues and diminished gas tax revenues thanks to more efficient cars and electric cars, Wyoming legislators this year are looking at alternative ways to raise money for maintenance and repair of the state’s roads.
Two bills have been introduced, one that would raise the state’s fuel tax to 9 cents per gallon. But the one that State Representative Mark Kinner said he’s been hearing the most about is House Bill 37, the so-called “road usage charge” bill.
Urged by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, House Bill 37 would impose a per-mile tax on vehicles ranging from just over a penny per mile for motorcycles and multipurpose vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles, to just over 14 cents a mile for semi-trucks with multiple axles. The tax for passenger cars would be a little over 2 cents a mile, while the per-mile tax for larger vehicles such as pickups and vans would be nearly 3 cents.
As currently proposed, Wyoming residents would pay the by-mile rate and be reimbursed for the fuel tax they paid at the pump. The fee would be imposed on any vehicle traveling on roads maintained by the state, counties or towns.
Also under the proposed draft bill, a fuel tax would still be collected at the pumps for out-of-state drivers.
If approved by legislators, the road usage charge would be implemented starting on March 31, 2022.
According to the current draft bill, the charge would initially supplement current fuel tax revenue.
As fuel tax revenues continue to decline based on improvement in fuel efficiency of vehicles and increased conversion to electric technology, the intention is that the pay-by-mile system could eventually replace fuel taxes and become the main funding mechanism for Wyoming’s roads.