Could gas tax be replaced with fee-per-mile?

California lawmakers are considering replacing the state’s gas tax with a fee per each mile motorists drive.

Gov. Jerry Brown alluded to changing the state’s structure for funding when he released his state budget earlier this month. "We're going to have to find another way to finance the upkeep of the roads," he said. Brown also noted that California has a $59 billion backlog of maintenance needs on state highways and bridges.

The move is being considered as a way to keep up funding for state and local roads as gasoline cars are getting better mileage, and more people drive electric cars. Gas taxes provide billions each year for local and state officials to maintain roads.

Brown signed a state law last year that establishes a new commission to look into new modes of funding. It doesn't mean that change is coming any time soon, but state policy makers are at least exploring ways to fund infrastructure needs amid a changing automotive environment.

"I think there's a long way to go before this is implemented. But we have a real problem when it comes to infrastructure in California," said U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Richmond, in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News. "We have to do something."

The chairman of the California Transportation Commission, which chose the 15 members of the study panel, is Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.