New Jersey pilot program testing alternative to gas tax

TRENTON, NJ (WPVI) — A new pilot program is asking New Jersey drivers to track their mileage to explore a new way of funding roads and bridges.

Officials are investigating whether a mileage-based fee would work better than a state gas tax.

“This is a data collection exercise,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “For New Jersey, no decisions are made about how we fund transportation, but without data, we can’t make good decisions.”

And to get that data, about 400 drivers stick a small device under their dashboard to track how far they’re driving.

There is an option that allows GPS or a kilometer only option.

Drivers stick this little device under their dashboard to track how far they’re driving. It’s all part of New Jersey’s pilot program.

Miles are counted for three months and then the device is returned.

Volunteers can earn up to $100 and will be informed of their final mileage.

“You will understand the difference that if they paid the fuel tax, they would have paid one amount. If they had paid a mileage-based usage fee, they would have paid the other,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

Drivers interested in volunteering can Click here.

Volunteers must register before midnight on August 31st.

New Jersey officials say as electric vehicles become more popular, a mileage-based fee could be more reliable to fund and repair roads and bridges.

The commissioner said several states are already using a kilometer-based usage fee on a voluntary basis.

SEE ALSO: New Jersey’s gas tax falls a penny per gallon on October 1st

Action News asked riders what they thought of the idea, and reviews were mixed.

“I think it would probably be a good idea if you don’t travel too much,” said Willingboro’s Dale Donnelly, who said she would likely benefit from a mileage-based system.

“They’re interfering too much with our business in particular and I think it’s going to end up costing a lot more,” said Riverside’s Elizabeth Powers, who would prefer to stick with a gas tax.

“I’m an Instacart worker, so I drive a lot, so if I was paying per mile I would be paying a lot more money,” said Burlington’s Bernard Savage.

Officials emphasize that this is still in the exploratory phase.

Laws would have to be passed and a bill signed by the governor for everything to become official.

Data from this pilot program should be available early next year.

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