Could Michigan drivers soon pay for the number of miles they dri - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Could Michigan drivers soon pay for the number of miles they drive?

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FLINT (WJRT) - (05/15/14) - Paying by the mile - an idea is being tossed around in Lansing to charge drivers a fee based on how many miles they drive.

The idea is to raise money to pay for road repairs - and it has a lot of drivers revved up.

This is only a proposal, that several groups are talking about, including the Michigan Environmental Council.
      
It's a fee for drivers as a way to pay for fixing Michigan roads.

"I put on 22,000 miles in one year getting them to their appointments and so on, so that's a lot of miles without taking a trip," said Susan Vara.

Vara, who works in the medical field, says a mileage fee would make it impossible for her to get her patients back and forth.

"Just this month alone, there was 17 doctors appointments and that's a great deal of miles to put on a car and we have nothing for us to take off on our income taxes and so on, so what are they going to do about that," Vara said.

Right now, fuel taxes are used to pay for transportation infrastructure, but the amount of money that it brings in is declining as cars get better mileage and electric vehicles are becoming more common.

"A mileage fee is similar to when you pay your water bill monthly, you see that read out on your water bill, with a bill for your vehicle miles traveled. You can also see how many miles did you travel this month and maybe what was the time you were traveling and maybe how much time you spent traveling in congestion zones," said Dan Sommerville, with Michigan Environmental Council.

Sommerville says there are a few options that the group is looking into to help keep track of the number of miles a person drives.
    
Besides GPS Tracking, another option is gas pump reporting, which would require a person to enter the mileage in their vehicle when they buy gas.
     
"I don't think we should pay fees. I drive quite a ways from work and there's no way I would be able to afford fees. Groceries are hard enough," said Brandon Desrosier, a driver.

"I think this it is a terrible legislation that they're trying to pass," Vara said.

Sommerville says it could take as long as 10 years to move to this system.
     
Oregon started a limited mileage fee policy.

The report released by MEC was conducted by SMART, which is a transportation research group at the University of Michigan. That report also says the advantage of a mileage fee is that it fairly assesses a vehicle's impact on roads.
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