July 22, 2019
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Transportation Commission considers pay-by-the-mile charge as gas tax revenue declines

The Washington State Transportation Commission is expected to vote late this year on a proposal that would move the state away from a gas tax in favor of a pay-per-mile system. The idea is to find a way to ensure that even drivers of electric or hybrid vehicles pay for transportation infrastructure, which currently is largely funded by a gas tax, The Olympian reports.

The commission will review a report in October from a panel that has studied the possible change, including feedback from 2,000 drivers who took part in a pilot project. The commission is scheduled to vote Dec. 17 on the panel's recommendations and submit its own report to the Legislature.

Many state residents would pay more under a per-mile road usage charge, said commissioner chairman Jerry Litt. He was part of the pilot project that had drivers chart out what they would pay at 2.4 cents per mile, compared with the current 49.5 cents per gallon gas tax.

“The car that I was using had about 23 miles per gallon. Some months I would have paid $6 more, some months it was $8 more and some months it was $2 more,” he said.

Any change would be phased in over 10 to 25 years. Owners of passenger vehicles and pickups would pay either the gas tax or a per-mile tax, but not both.

Options for reporting mileage to the state could include motorists taking pictures of their odometers to a smartphone app that would transmit data to the state.

Some observers have expressed concerns that a pay-by-the-mile system will have a regressive effect on rural residents and those who have long commutes into the city from far-flung areas with more affordable housing.

Contact Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for transportation issues, to learn more.

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Career-connected Learning

Steer our students to the many paths for productive lives

By State Sen. Lisa Wellman and State Rep. Vandana Slatter

We know that today's jobs require education beyond high school. But our graduation rate is still under 80 percent, and only 40 percent of our high school students earn a credential or degree after high school by the time they are 26 years old.

Meanwhile, businesses can't find workers with the skills they need. This means that despite the state's strong economic growth, thousands of Washington students are being left behind every single year.

The situation is serious and getting more urgent. In the next few years, Washington employers are anticipating 740,000 job openings with jobs that require technical certification, apprenticeship or college degrees. We need to get students ready...

Career Connect Washington provides a fundamental new framework for connecting students to high demand, high potential jobs, and higher education, job training and actual employment. Through a regional approach of supporting localized networks focused on the needs of our diverse state, each area of our state will be able to help students learn about, explore and prepare for their careers...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times