Oregon Taps Waterloo’s IMS to Drive Change on Road-Usage Fees

Oregon hopes to get a lot of mileage out of a palm-sized device made by Intelligent Mechatronic Systems in Waterloo.

IMS and Sanef ITS of New York have teamed up to equip the northwestern American state with a system that charges and collects a fee based on the distances drivers travel on all of its roads. It is the first program of its kind in North America, and it aims to recover lost gas-tax revenue as consumers shift to electric, hybrid or highly efficient gas-powered vehicles.

“The road usage charge is a much more logical connection between the damage done to the road and the funds needed to repair the road,” said Ben Miners, Vice-President, Innovation, at IMS. “There is an increasing gap between the gas tax paid and the impact to the road. It is no longer a simple, one-to-one relationship.”

Other jurisdictions are riding Oregon’s bumper: States considering road-usage charges include California, Washington and Florida. Ontario has no immediate plans for a similar program, although it knows about the one in Oregon, a spokesperson for the provincial Ministry of Transportation said.

Backed by state law and set to roll July 1, the Oregon plan – OreGO – starts with the drivers of 5,000 cars and light trucks. Each auto owner who volunteers for the program gets IMS’s DriveSync vehicle-telematics device. It’s a do-it-yourself plug-in to a port usually found near the base of the steering column.

Read this rest of this article on the Communitech News site.