Handheld cell use illegal when driving

Date Published: 2010-03-25

Contact: Meg Ragonese

Phone: (775) 888-7172

Title: Public Meeting to Discuss VMT Study Evaluating Potential Fuel Tax Replacement

Story Text:

The Nevada Department of Transportation will host public meetings in Reno and Las Vegas to gather public comments on a study of a potential future fuel tax replacement.

The Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Fee Study will discuss alternatives to allow Nevada to continue to fund public roads amid changing energy resource issues and transportation funding deficit: • Hybrid/electric vehicle use is increasing. While an important positive for our environment, these alternative vehicles pay limited fuel tax to support roadway construction and maintenance. • Vehicle fuel efficiency will increase to an average 35 miles a gallon by 2020, leading to less road funding collected from fuel taxes per gallon. • Current funding for road construction, maintenance and operations comes from fuel taxes. Today, due to inflation, these fuel taxes cover approximately half of the road construction, maintenance and operations costs per gallon that they funded when last raised in 1992.

The study, overseen by NDOT, will study VMT fees as a potential fuel tax replacement. In a VMT system, users are charged a fee based on the number of miles driven and do not pay per-gallon fuel taxes. It could also potentially help alleviate congestion by adjusting fees for travel during peak drive hours. Similar studies are being conducted in other states and by the federal government.

The study, supported by University of Nevada, Reno researchers, with assistance from University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will evaluate policy, privacy, technology, administration and equitability aspects of a potential VMT system. A sampling of volunteers will have their vehicles outfitted with technology to test potential VMT fees in Washoe and Clark counties.

“In short, fuel taxes have not kept pace with our country's changing times and needs,” said NDOT Deputy Director Scott Rawlins. “Across the state, we will be billions short in funding to build, maintain and operate the roads our state needs over the coming years. We want to ensure that, should the gas tax need to be replaced with another funding source in the future, the State of Nevada is ready with an equitable and proven option that has been thoroughly studied in the state and has been developed cooperatively with the community.”

The public information meetings will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center and on April 29 at the Clark County Government Building. The public is invited to attend the open-format meeting at any time between 4 and 7 p.m. to discuss the study and provide comments. Comments can also be made before May 28 on-line at www.vmtfeenv.com, by e-mail at vmtfeestudy@vmtfeenv.com or by mail at VMT study coordinator Jason Van Havel, 1263 S. Stewart St., Carson City, NV, 89712. Accommodations for the disabled can be made by contacting (775) 888-7171.

Further information is available at www.vmtfeenv.com.