GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A group of stakeholders gathered in Lansing Tuesday to express concerns about shrinking gas tax revenues linked to the rise of electric vehicles and the problem of how to pay for road upkeep.

The group of government and business leaders has formed the Coalition on Electric Vehicles and Transportation Revenue. The group makes it very clear what they are worried about: More cars that don’t use gas means more miles traveled without collecting gas taxes. Those gas taxes pay for the repair and resurfacing of roads, particularly noninterstates

The effect is already being felt, County Road Association of Michigan Executive Director Denise Donohue said.

“We’re here to recognize that from 2019 to 2021 Michigan roads, and specifically the Michigan Transportation Fund, did not receive $50 million in state gas tax that we expected to come in the door,” Donohue said. “By 2030, a mere seven years from now, that shortfall will grow to $65 (million) to $90 (million) to 95 million a year that is not received. So at the is time with the current prices, CRA estimates that 840 miles of road will not be able to be resurfaced per year. That is the distance from the city of Monroe (in southeastern Michigan) to Tahquamenon Falls (in the Upper Peninsula) and back again, both lanes, both directions, every year will not be able to be resurfaced if we do not address this problem soon.”

The CRA, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Municipal League, Michigan Chamber of Commerce and Michigan Township Association are just some of the organizations pushing the rollout of a new road funding mechanism. They funded a study that offered a number of possibilities, including:

  • Raising registration fees for EVs to make up for lost revenues.
  • Implementing a mileage-based user fee in which drivers would pay by mile.
  • Charging EV owners per kilowatt hour, measuring mileage by electricity used.
  • Reporting mileage to the Secretary of State’s Office when registering your vehicle every year.
  • Charging tolls on some Michigan roads.

The group wants the state government to start rethinking road funding now, before the deficit grows larger.

There is a lot of conversation in Lansing as to what should be done. It seems clear though that a solution may need to be found sooner rather than later.