Texas bill calls for truck tax pilot program

March 20, 2023

Keith Goble


On the heels of the state of Connecticut implementing a highway use tax for large trucks, a Texas bill would open the door to a similar plan.

Texas state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, is behind a bill to authorize a vehicle mileage user fee pilot program and a task force to assist in developing and evaluating the program. The bill, HB3418, states that the pilot program would assess the feasibility of eliminating the state gas and diesel tax and other user fees for transportation.

Texas now collects a 20-cent-per-gallon tax rate on gas or diesel purchases.

Task force

The task force that would be authorized to help set up and evaluate the program would have seven members. Three task force members would be appointed by state lawmakers. Four more members would be appointed by the governor and the lieutenant governor.

The appointed panel would be charged with conducting at least three public hearings on the pilot program. The group would also be responsible for making recommendations on the design and on the criteria used to evaluate the pilot program and “other alternative approaches to motor fuel taxes.”

Pilot program

The program would assess a user fee on owners of commercial vehicles that is based on the number of miles traveled in the state.

Additionally, the program would be limited to 300 participants with on-board vehicle-mileage-counting equipment added to their vehicles. The pilot program would be in place for one year.

At the conclusion of the program, the Texas Department of Transportation would be responsible for providing a report to the state legislature summarizing the results. Included in the report must be the feasibility of permanently assessing a vehicle mileage user fee and a comparison of other alternative approaches or supplements to fuel taxes.

HB3418 is in the House Transportation Committee.

Pursuit is not new to Texas

Efforts in the Texas Legislature to tap a vehicle-miles tax to replace the state fuel tax are not unique.

Previous efforts have included legislation to impose a vehicle-miles-traveled tax on all vehicles registered in the state that travel at least 5,000 miles per year. One bill from 2013 would have calculated the VMT tax for motorists by charging a penny per mile minus the estimated fuel taxes paid by the vehicle owner. The truck tax would have been set at 1.25 cents per mile.

An annual odometer inspection would have been used to measure the actual VMT. LL

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