Last week, the Oregon Department of Transportation moved one step closer to implementing its voluntary Road Usage Charge Program by announcing it is seeking vendors to run the program.
"Our vision is to create a reliable, easy-to-use, low cost, enforceable, and publicly acceptable 'open' system that replaces the fuel tax," Jim Whitty, manager of ODOT's Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding, said in a statement. "A charge based on measured road use preserves fairness and accountability in supporting the state's system of roads and highways."
In order to accomplish this, ODOT is looking for account managers to build and support the system. Last July, the Oregon House and Senate passed SB 810, which made Oregon the first state to open up a voluntary mileage-based user fee system to the public (open to 5,000 individuals) in lieu of a state fuel excise tax (see related AASHTO Journal story here). The bill came after the implementation of two pilot programs by ODOT through the last decade to test the technology.
To make the program successful, ODOT will contract with companies to serve as road usage charge managers, who will maintain customer accounts, calculate charges and any credits due, and submit those charges to the Oregon Treasury. ODOT will be in charge of auditing those account managers and make sure all charges are dealt with.
Companies interested in proposing technology and services for the program can find additional details here. Additional information on ODOT's Road Usage Charge Program is available at RoadChargeOregon.org.