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More people are driving electric cars. Gasoline cars are getting better mileage. And California’s vehicles are causing less pollution.
“We’re going to have to find another way to finance the upkeep of the roads,” Gov. Jerry Brown said earlier this month in rolling out his 2015 budget, noting that California has a $59 billion backlog of maintenance needs on state highways and bridges.
Brown gave no specifics. But last fall he signed a law that set up a commission to study a “road usage charge” and establish a pilot program by Jan. 1, 2017. The 15-member commission had its first meeting on Friday in Sacramento.
The idea is far from reality, but it’s raising a hornet’s nest of practical and political questions, from how government would track the miles to what happens when people drive out of state or on private roads.