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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mileage Tax

With tax revenue falling, and road repairs and construction still in need, the government is looking at new ways of generating revenue. The National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission has been charged to review options and make recommendations. Most of the options being explored are to be expected, such as raising the national gas tax. This has been the key method of funding the system to date and hasn't been raised since 1993. But, with vehicles becoming more fuel efficient, they have found this method "no longer sufficient, " according to the interim report that has been published. One of the more interesting options being reviewed is a mileage tax, according to the Seattle PI. The idea behind it, is all new cars would be manufactured with a GPS that would track mileage driven. Tax at this level would break down to total miles driven, and could even be broken down to peak and non-peak hours. According to an article on MSNBC Oregon is in the process of currently testing the feasibility of this. They have installed GPS systems in about 300 cars. As you can imagine there are many critics to this proposal, including privacy advocates, people upset about the expense of the option that would be passed on to consumers, and the potential loss of incentive to buy fuel efficient cars.

My proposal to the Commission is as follows:

1 - A slight increase in the gas tax, and no increase in the tax on diesel. Diesel is currently taxed higher than gas, even though it is a more efficient of a fuel. A leveling of the taxes will even out the cost and with diesel now made to a higher cleaner standard, people should be encouraged to move to diesel fueled vehicle.

2 - Tax people based on the amount of driving they do. Except, don't use costly and invasive GPS system. Instead at each emissions inspection, tax total mileage driven since the last emissions. This would encourage people to drive less, and resolve the privacy issues people are concerned about with the GPS system. Also by taxing based on usage, it will encourage people to move to the cities, and/or use mass transits options. Exceptions to the policy could include buses for mass transit, truck drivers and any other business or industry that relies on large amounts of travel.

The National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission will have two years to complete its report. Comments on the interim report (available at http://financecommission.dot.gov/index.htm) should be submitted in writing to Jack Wells,
Commission Staff Director / Designated Federal Official, at Jack.Wells@dot.gov

2 comments:

Rooster said...

OMFG... The Rooster agrees with you 100%!!!!!

CM said...

It's about damn time!