CDOT taking volunteers for 1.2 cent per mile Road Usage Charge study to fund Colorado highways

Perhaps you’re aware that Colorado has the sixth-most poor or mediocre highway paving. Or you know, maybe you’ve just driven on some of the bad parts.

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Cars travel down 14th Street in the Central Business District. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  central business district; traffic; cars; denver; kevinjbeaty; colorado; denverite;

Cars travel down 14th Street in the Central Business District. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Perhaps you’re aware that Colorado has the sixth-most poor or mediocre highway paving. Or you know, maybe you’ve just driven on some of the bad parts.

The Colorado Department of Transportation says that the problem is that we’re funding our transportation system like it’s 1992. And don’t expect that to change any time soon, the governor’s budget actually cut funding for transportation this year.

What’s a state transportation agency to do?

Well, CDOT is studying a Road Usage Charge where Coloradans would pay a 1.2 cent fee per mile traveled. Though the agency points out that this 1.2 cent fee is just for study —  any potential rate would be set by the Colorado Legislature.

Anyway, at this point, CDOT is just looking for volunteers to see if the idea could work. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean offering to be charged for your driving habits either. First CDOT has to figure out what the best way to track your mileage is.

“We’re looking for a diverse group of people; urban, rural, people with different types of vehicles and incomes,” Castle said.

The goal is to get more than just the likely suspects — Prius drivers or Ford F-150 drivers — to sign up, she says. One hundred people will be selected and have the option of tracking their mileage three different ways from late fall to Spring 2017.

If you can’t wait until July 2017 to read the final report and find out what this could mean for you, CDOT has a calculator that compares what you currently pay via the gas tax to what you might pay under a road usage charge.

But “pay” is kind of a relative term. Even if you drive an electric car or fuel efficient car, improperly maintained roads mean that drivers “end up paying something at the end of the day,” says Castle.

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