|I-95 Corridor Coalition states|
A group of East Coast states wants to help overhaul the way America pays for its decaying roads, and it’s starting with Monopoly money.What's missing from the article is the role that high mileage vehicles have played in the declining gas tax revenues. The number of Priuses and other high mileage cars on the roads in our area is amazing. Probably 30% or more.
Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Hampshire are proposing pilots to figure out how they might charge motorists a fee for the miles they travel — rather than taxing their gas, as state and federal officials do today.
The I-95 Corridor Coalition, which represents transportation officials from 16 states and the District of Columbia, applied for a federal grant last month to test the idea.
Officials would stitch together the policies and technologies needed to count the miles driven by 50 recruits from each of the four states, including state legislators, transportation officials or other willing guinea pigs. They would send out “faux invoices” monthly. And they would collect the data that legislatures — and the driving public — would require to decide if the change makes sense.
Although California plans to launch a pilot in July, also with fake invoices, and Oregon has had success with a volunteer program collecting actual cash, the concept is not particularly well known — or well loved across the country.
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“Reliance on the gas tax as a major contributor to funding transportation is no longer a viable option,” Cohan said.
The federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon has not been raised since 1993, and many states have not indexed their own gas taxes to inflation, so those key funding sources have fallen far behind the nation’s needs.
Privacy remains a key issue, including how the government can track miles traveled without raising fears of snooping on where people are going.Despite assurance, we all know that the old adage about death and taxes doesn't apply to taxes. Taxes are forever, and if the mileage tax goes into effect, the gas tax won't be taken away (although it might be renamed as an "oil depletion carbon tax" or something like that.
Backers say that they are sensitive to such concerns, particularly after Edward Snowden’s revelations about data collection by the National Security Agency left many spooked about government overreach. At the same time, people readily allow their movements to be charted and their personal details to be broadcast via smartphone apps.