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Unread 02-20-2009, 08:12 AM   #1
ecaps
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Federal VMT Tax - Proposed by new Transportation Sec.

Considering tax on miles driven...
Just saw this article today. I've seen it attempted to get passed in several states, but failed.

Anyone else outraged by this (not just the tax) ?? - Wanting to install tracking device in every vehicle. In addition to what I see as an invasion of privacy, but also how much is this going to cost the govt, before it even sees a dime back??

Article


Quote:
WASHINGTON - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn an idea that has angered drivers in some states where it has been proposed.

Gasoline taxes that for nearly half a century have paid for the federal share of highway and bridge construction can no longer be counted on to raise enough money to keep the nation's transportation system moving, LaHood said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled," the former Illinois Republican lawmaker said.

Most transportation experts see a vehicle miles traveled tax as a long-term solution, but Congress is being urged to move in that direction now by funding pilot projects.
The idea also is gaining ground in several states. Governors in Idaho and Rhode Island are talking about such programs, and a North Carolina panel suggested in December the state start charging motorists a quarter-cent for every mile as a substitute for the gas tax.

A tentative plan in Massachusetts to use GPS chips in vehicles to charge motorists by the mile has drawn complaints from drivers who say it's an Orwellian intrusion by government into the lives of citizens. Other motorists say it eliminates an incentive to drive more fuel-efficient cars since gas guzzlers will be taxed at the same rate as fuel sippers.

Thinking outside the box
Besides a VMT tax, more tolls for highways and bridges and more government partnerships with business to finance transportation projects are other funding options, LaHood, one of two Republicans in President Barack Obama's Cabinet, said in the interview Thursday.

"What I see this administration doing is this thinking outside the box on how we fund our infrastructure in America," he said.

LaHood said he firmly opposes raising the federal gasoline tax in the current recession.

The program that funds the federal share of highway projects is part of a surface transportation law that expires Sept. 30. Last fall, Congress made an emergency infusion of $8 billion to make up for a shortfall between gas tax revenues and the amount of money promised to states for their projects. The gap between money raised by the gas tax and the cost of maintaining the nation's highway system and expanding it to accommodate population growth is forecast to continue to widen.

Among the reasons for the gap is a switch to more fuel-efficient cars and a decrease in driving that many transportation experts believe is related to the economic downturn. Electric cars and alternative-fuel vehicles that don't use gasoline are expected to start penetrating the market in greater numbers.

"One of the things I think everyone agrees with around reauthorization of the highway bill is that the highway trust fund is an antiquated system for funding our highways," LaHood said. "It did work to build the interstate system and it was very effective, there's no question about that. But the big question now is, We're into the 21st century and how are we going to take care of our infrastructure needs ... with a highway trust fund that had to be plused up by $8 billion by Congress last year?"



Report expected next week
A blue-ribbon national transportation commission is expected to release a report next week recommending a VMT.

The system would require all cars and trucks be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to record how many miles a vehicle was driven, whether it was driven on highways or secondary roads, and even whether it was driven during peak traffic periods or off-peak hours.

The device would tally how much tax motorists owed depending upon their road use. Motorists would pay the amount owed when it was downloaded, probably at gas stations at first, but an alternative eventually would be needed.

Rob Atkinson, president of the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission, the agency that is developing future transportation funding options, said moving to a national VMT would take about a decade.

Privacy concerns are based more on perception than any actual risk, Atkinson said. The satellite information would be beamed one way to the car and driving information would be contained within the device on the car, with the amount of the tax due the only information that's downloaded, he said.

The devices also could be programmed to charge higher rates to vehicles that are heavier, like trucks that put more stress on roadways, Atkinson said.


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Unread 02-20-2009, 09:08 AM   #2
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In theory I don't have a problem with some kind of tax to REPLACE the gas tax that takes into account mileage and vehicle weight to offset wear-and-tear to our roads. As people start driving more fuel efficient vehicles and eventually electric cars, we'll get more and more people who don't pay their fair share into the highway fund. Unfortunately, I suspect such a tax would simply augment the gas tax and end up double taxing most of us.

I don't see why GPS would be needed for such a system when every car has an odometer.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by PirateKatz View Post
I don't see why GPS would be needed for such a system when every car has an odometer.
Because some of us tend to drive offroad. Why should we be taxed on mileage driven that isn't using "the existing infrastructure"?
But they can place a tracking device in my Jeep the day after they pry my gun from my cold dead fingers.
This Gov has shown they can, and will, abuse any information they are allowed to collect. They don't need to be able to see where I'm driving to.

And, since Odometers are fairly common in junk yards, who's to stop someone from buying a used Odo with lower mileage and getting money back from the Gov?
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Grimscale View Post
Because some of us tend to drive offroad. Why should we be taxed on mileage driven that isn't using "the existing infrastructure"?
If you buy gas, then you're already paying into the highway fund regardless if you drive off road or just buy gas for your lawnmower. With the present system, you're paying disproportionately more in taxes vs. somebody who drives a hybrid, just because the hybrid driver uses less gas. Somebody who buys one of those new Chevy Volts will pay $0.00 into the highway fund under the present, tax-by-gallon system.

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Originally Posted by Grimscale View Post
And, since Odometers are fairly common in junk yards, who's to stop someone from buying a used Odo with lower mileage and getting money back from the Gov?
Odometer fraud is a pretty big deal. I guess there's nothing stopping you from lying on your car registration every year.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by PirateKatz View Post
If you buy gas, then you're already paying into the highway fund regardless if you drive off road or just buy gas for your lawnmower. With the present system, you're paying disproportionately more in taxes vs. somebody who drives a hybrid, just because the hybrid driver uses less gas. Somebody who buys one of those new Chevy Volts will pay $0.00 into the highway fund under the present, tax-by-gallon system.
volt still has a gas engine that charges its batteries...

Quote:
Odometer fraud is a pretty big deal. I guess there's nothing stopping you from lying on your car registration every year.
that and most cars made in this century keep the ODO reading stored in multiple ecus so you can't just crack em and roll it back like back in the day

I dislike the active GPS - I'd much rather have a passive RFID chip like the rolling tollroads use but I think charging people less for less road usage is a good thing
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Grimscale View Post
Because some of us tend to drive offroad. Why should we be taxed on mileage driven that isn't using "the existing infrastructure"?
The one great thing about driving off-road is you get so many more miles of enjoyment to the gallon.

Anyway, I read recently that states are now worried that so many people went out and bought higher mpg cars when gas prices went up, as it means that people are paying less fuel taxes. Boy, the government never has enough tax money does it? So should we just start handing them all of our paychecks?!
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:48 AM   #7
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they should just tattoo numbers on the insides of our forearms and put us all in labor camps. that way they'll know what everyones doing all the time. welcome to the USSA
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:54 AM   #8
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wow 7 posts has to be some kind of godwin record...
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:29 AM   #9
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Anyway, I read recently that states are now worried that so many people went out and bought higher mpg cars when gas prices went up, as it means that people are paying less fuel taxes.
The exact same thing is happening with cigarette taxes.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:34 AM   #10
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volt still has a gas engine that charges its batteries...

that and most cars made in this century keep the ODO reading stored in multiple ecus so you can't just crack em and roll it back like back in the day

I dislike the active GPS - I'd much rather have a passive RFID chip like the rolling tollroads use but I think charging people less for less road usage is a good thing
According to GM, it doesn't require any gas if you commute less than 40 miles. So if Bob owns a Volt and commutes 30 miles/day and Steve owns a Civic and commutes the same distance, only Steve would have to pay highway taxes even though both of them put the same wear-and-tear on the roads.

One downside of the pay-per-mile system is that a straight odometer reading wouldn't take into account which state you are in, while the gas tax (to an extent) does.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by PirateKatz View Post
I don't see why GPS would be needed for such a system when every car has an odometer.
I even have a problem with on star. Its a great idea, help someone when they are in a crash, but it tracks every where you have been. Technically you need a warnt to get GPS records, but the government has access to the data base with out getting permission from on star.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:43 AM   #12
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Obama already shot this down publicly.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 05:50 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by PirateKatz View Post
In theory I don't have a problem with some kind of tax to REPLACE the gas tax that takes into account mileage and vehicle weight to offset wear-and-tear to our roads. As people start driving more fuel efficient vehicles and eventually electric cars, we'll get more and more people who don't pay their fair share into the highway fund. Unfortunately, I suspect such a tax would simply augment the gas tax and end up double taxing most of us.

I don't see why GPS would be needed for such a system when every car has an odometer.

The politicians won't REPLACE any tax. Just look at Chicago and the East Coast. They have toll roads combined with high state gas taxes.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 05:55 PM   #14
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The politicians won't REPLACE any tax. Just look at Chicago and the East Coast. They have toll roads combined with high state gas taxes.
no one is forcing you to use the toll roads though. There are plenty of other roads to use, they just take much much longer to get to the same place
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