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Mileage tax gains some speed

The idea of taxing drivers for the miles they travel is gaining momentum. A Mecklenburg County committee on transportation has now made the tax one of its recommendations for serious consideration. A statewide group on road funding, called the 21st Century Transportation Committee, recently did the same in a report to the General Assembly. Ned Curran is chairman of the Mecklenburg County Committee of 21. He says the state needs to consider all of its options. "It's apparent at the federal level, at the state level, that the gasoline tax is eroding as vehicles are using alternative fuels, driving less or getting more miles to the gallon," says Curran. "I think we're gonna see this occur a lot faster than we think we will." It's not yet clear how a gas tax would work - whether by odometer readings or GPS. And Curran says there are problems with taxing drivers across state lines. There are privacy concerns, too. The state gasoline gax is 29.9 cents per gallon. The statewide transportation committee would like to keep that tax and implement a mileage tax. The Mecklenburg County Committee of 21 says several options need to be considered, but believes North Carolina lawmakers should abolish the per-gallon tax if they approve a mileage tax. Both the local and statewide transportation committees also recommend tolling sections of Interstate 77 to raise more money for roads. But local leaders also want I-85 and I-485 tolled. And they would like to see Mecklenburg County increase the sales tax to pay for better maintenance on local roads, as well as those the state is neglecting. York County has implemented a similar tax, which WFAE reported on earlier this year. Listen to that report here.