San Francisco Area Officials Considering Per-Mile Driving Tax
Proposal would charge drivers based on how far they travel and track them with GPS devices.
The downside of fuel efficiency: Going farther on a gallon of gas means less money going into local and state coffers in the form of fuel taxes to fund transportation infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. While gas taxes have worked for decades as the most efficient way to spread the pain by making drivers pay at the pump, more fuel-efficient vehicles combined with fewer miles driven overall have caused transportation officials to seek more creative ways to reap revenue, such as converting interstate highways to toll roads.
The always forward-thinking and environmentally conscious Californians in the San Francisco Bay Area have come up with a novel way to raise money for roads and public transportation, while also potentially reducing traffic and automobile emissions: charging motorists a tax for every mile they drive. Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments recently authorized a study of a possible vehicle-miles-traveled tax as part of a larger environmental review of transportation options for the area.
Under the proposal, drivers in the nine-county Bay Area would be required to install GPS-like odometers or other devices in their vehicles, and would pay anywhere from less than a penny to as much as a dime for every mile driven. Based on current Bay Area driving patterns, such a mileage tax could raise up to $15 million every day.
But the idea could take a decade or more before it’s launched. Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler acknowledged that the concept could prove tough even for the notoriously liberal Bay Area residents to swallow, and that they would likely reject the idea of both the travel tax and the government-mandated tracking devices.
“The last thing we're interested in is where you go and what you do,” Rentschler said, according to the San Jose Mercury News. “What we're trying to do is get people to figure out a way to raise revenue that they could support.” And since San Francisco likes to consider itself one of the most European of U.S. cities, maybe the residents would feel comforted by the fact that a survey last year by the European Commission found that a majority of Europeans would be happy to pay higher taxes for driving more, as opposed to the current flat-rate registration and road tax. And many European Union countries also include in their car tax system a charge for carbon-dioxide emissions per kilometer traveled.
The Mercury News pointed out that pilot studies of mileage taxes have been conducted in Atlanta and also in several communities in Oregon and Washington. Drivers in those studies logged fewer miles when they were given a sum of money and then had amounts deducted based on how much they drove.
The state of CA sells over 1 billion (yes BILLION) gallons of motor fuel each MONTH. And it is taxed at about 70 cents per gallon. That's 8.4+ BILLION dollars a year.
Since our roads are degrading daily, one has to ask where is all that money going?
I want the People of America to DEMAND a: POLITICIAN TAX
Politicians are the ones who want to figure out a way to raise revenue, then THEY should be happy to pay higher taxes for the privilege, as opposed to paying the current rate the REST of the citizens pay.
Their PAY scale should also be based on Political Performance, which would raise and lower depending of public opinion... IF their public confidence lowers 42%, so does their pay!!
“The state mandated GPS unit hard wired into your car reports you visited a gun show this weekend, therefore we have probable cause to make a felony car stop and tear apart your car searching for illegal firearms” or “Your car was tracked to a liquor store just now, you needed to be stopped to check and see if you’re driving drunk.” You think that would not happen? We are talking about the most liberal nanny state city on the west coast here.
That is the dumbest idea ever. I'm sorry your tax coffers are no longer bursting at the seams. Here's a thought, instead of just finding another way to bleed your citizens, why not act like a business or indivudual and find a way to reduce spending and generate/increase revenue. If the only income you generate is from one source, (in this case taxes), than you are running a really poor business. Why not invest some of your money and use the interest to pay for things. Issue a loan to business that build infastructure in you area. Stop thinking taxes and only taxes are your savior.
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