Wyoming bill would implement road user charge
January 12, 2021
The Wyoming Legislature convenes its regular session Tuesday and among the topics expected to get attention in the weeks ahead is transportation funding.
In an effort to trim a transportation funding deficit estimated at $135.6 million annually, the Joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Interim Committee has filed a bill to introduce a pay-by-mile system, or road user charge, to help cover expenses.
Committee members voted in the fall to move forward with the road user charge option for all vehicles as a long-term mechanism to replace the state’s 24-cent-per-gallon tax collection on fuel purchases.
Advocates, including the Wyoming Department of Transportation, say a road use charge program is the future of transportation funding. They cite anticipated growth in people purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, which will cut further into revenue collected via the state’s fuel tax.
Details of the plan
The bill, HB37, calls for fuel tax collection to begin to be phased out in favor of a road user charge in March 2022.
Motorists would pay 2.15 cents per mile traveled on Wyoming roadways. Depending on the size of the truck, professional drivers would pay between 10.32 cents and 14.35 cents per mile.
Over time, the fuel tax would be indexed to maintain alignment with road use costs.
Residents paying the road user charge would get a credit for fuel taxes paid. Out-of-state drivers would pay both the road user charge and the state’s fuel tax.
The Wyoming Legislative Service Office estimates once the road user charge is fully implemented it would result in net revenue of $123.6 million per year.
The State Highway Fund would collect $82.3 million annually. Another $40.5 million would be directed to local roads. State parks would receive $800,000 each year.
Fuel taxes and tolls
A separate funding measure that is expected to be discussed at the statehouse focuses solely on increasing the state’s fuel tax.
The bill, HB26, would increase the state’s tax on gas and diesel by 9 cents to 33 cents per gallon. The tax on alternative fuels would be raised by the same amount.
Each penny increase is estimated to raise $6.7 million yearly.
The bill would raise an estimated $60.3 million annually for state and local roads, according to an attached fiscal note.
The highway fund would collect about $40.2 million. Another $14.1 million would be allotted to county roads, while cities and towns would get $5.9 million. The remaining $1.2 million would be set aside for state parks. LL