A report, prepared for the Michigan Environmental Council by the Sustainable Mobility & Accessibility Research & Transformation (SMART) at the University of Michigan, states that fuel efficient vehicles are leading to a decline in funding available for road maintenance and construction.

As vehicles become more efficient the amount of revenue collected through fuel taxes is decreasing. The report suggests that a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax is one possible solution to the funding shortfall that Michigan is facing.

Lawmakers are currently considering legislation that would provide more than $450 million for infrastructure funding. Last week the House Transportation Committee approved a 10-bill package legislation that would generate funds through reformulated fuel taxes, budget shifts and higher fees on overweight or oversized trucks. The package is now with the Senate for consideration this week. In the past Governor Rick Snyder has requested $1.2 billion per year to finance the state’s transportation infrastructure needs.

“Instead of continuing to raise fuel taxes to pay for transportation infrastructure, a mileage fee could more fairly allocate costs based on the number of miles driven, the time of day, the route taken, and the weight of the vehicle,” the report states.

Several states are currently studying the potential for a VMT tax, including Oregon, Minnesota, Texas, Wisconsin, Nevada and Florida. California is also considering a legislative proposal to introduce a voluntary test program for VMT tax.