Mileage-based user fee reconsidered

The Senate Transportation Committee again heard a bill this week that would establish a pilot program to identify and implement the steps necessary to develop a mileage-based user fee system (MBUF) to fund Minnesota’s transportation system. The pilot project must demonstrate and evaluate technical approaches to operating a MBUF system, analyze options and policy questions, and result in a near-term capacity to implement or phase-in a MBUF.

MBUF is an alternative to the gas tax, which is projected to raise less and less revenue as vehicles become more fuel efficient and fewer vehicles are dependent on fossil fuel. Since the gas tax revenue goes directly to road maintenance and construction, the state is facing a long-term deficiency in anticipated funding. MBUF would be a fair alternative because it would charge drivers based on their use of the road regardless of the type of fuel used. There are still many questions regarding the logistics of any new MBUF system in Minnesota, which the pilot project would begin to discuss. (SF 1122)