TAX OPTIONS DISCUSSED

Behind every sil­ver lin­ing is a dark cloud. Yes, even what we think of as good things, some­times aren’t what they appear.

Take elec­tric and hybrid vehi­cles for instance. Who would have thought that they would have such a big impact on area road­ways. But not in the way most peo­ple think.

Dur­ing the quar­terly meet­ing of the North­west Ohio Com­mis­sion­ers & Engi­neers Asso­ci­a­tion on Mon­day, offi­cials from around the region heard about how elec­tric and hybrid vehi­cles are affect­ing the amount of gas tax coun­ties receive.

Now offi­cials say they need to look closely at that prob­lem.

The Ohio gas tax, which is 28 cents per gal­lon, is used to help fund roads and bridges through­out the state.

The fed­eral gas tax is 18.4 cents and is one of the rev­enue sources for the High­way Trust Fund.

Accord­ing to the Ohio Depart­ment of Tax­a­tion, the gas tax rev­enue in the state went from $35.7 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2011 to $31.2 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2012. Reduced gas con­sump­tion, of which elec­tric and hybrid vehi­cles are just one part, is the rea­son for the decline in rev­enue.

Now, in order to make up the dif­fer­ence, some law­mak­ers want to imple­ment a vehi­cle mileage tax.

The tax works by hav­ing dri­vers pay a set amount per mile. The state of Ore­gon is already test­ing such a system.

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