This year, Oregon wrapped up a major road usage charge (RUC) pilot program, which tested alternative funding mechanisms to the gas tax. CH2M HILL, the lead project manager, made an interesting presentation to Move Colorado on the results of the pilot.
The 3-month pilot program ran from November 2012 to February 2013. A cross section of citizens and government officials participated in the program including:
- 88 total participants in OR, WA, NV
- DOT executives
- State Legislators
- Transportation Commissioners
- Congressional Panel members
- Members of Governor’s Office
- Oregon participants (44) actually paid the 1.56 cents/mile RUC
Much of the challenge of RUC programs, similar to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) or Mileage Based User Fee (MBUF), is addressing concerns over privacy. Technology that tracks mileage relies on GPS, which is a location-based technology and some people are concerned about the government having access to their locations. A unique aspect of the RUC in Oregon is that it gave participants a range of choices, including the option not to have GPS technology in their vehicles. Options include Basic (no GPS), Advanced (GPS), or Smartphone (switchable). If participants choose not to use GPS, they pay for the full mileage they accumulate throughout the year, whereas those with GPS only pay for the mileage they accumulate while driving in Oregon. For those who mostly drive in-state and want to opt-out of GPS services, this is a great option.
The pilot was successful receive very positive reviews from the participants. Due to the program’s success, the state legislature passed legislation expanding the program on July 7th creating a voluntary RUC program consisting of:
- 1.5 cents/mile (or an optional flat fee of $542.50 for unlimited mileage annually) RUC for all volunteer vehicles
- Not more than 1,500 vehicles with 17 MPG or less
- Not more than 1,500 vehicles with 17 MPG to 22 MPG
- Remaining vehicles with 22 MPG or greater
The expanded effort is meant to test the program on a larger scale and get feedback from participants. Colorado’s transportation system doesn’t have a pilot program of this sort, but a Western Road Usage Charge Consortium was proposed, which Colorado could participate in.
More information including If interested, click here to download the full presentation.