BOSTON (WWLP) — Governor Charlie Baker this week vetoed a controversial pilot program to test a possible alternative to the state’s gas tax. The vehicle miles traveled pilot program would tax Massachusetts drivers based on how many miles they drive.
Baker said taxing people based on miles traveled could be a burden on western Massachusetts drivers. He said, “In places like western Mass where people drive farther to get anywhere, that this was something that was particularly punitive for them.”
Supporters of the vehicle miles traveled program argue the current gas tax system is both unfair and unstable as more people buy energy efficient cars.
Pittsfield state Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier believes the vehicle miles traveled tax can be adjusted based on the time of day people are driving, and traffic. Another western Massachusetts lawmaker told 22News the program is at least worth exploring.
“If vehicle miles traveled prove a better alternative than the gas tax for funding road and bridge improvements, and wouldn’t adversely impact western Massachusetts residents, why wouldn’t we look at it,” asked Chicopee Democrat Joe Wagner.
Governor Baker said he hopes to learn from other states that are testing similar pilot programs, instead of implementing it here.
Massachusetts drivers are currently taxed 24-cents per gallon at the gas pump. That revenue goes to repair state roads and highways.