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Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Speedy
Date: March 13, 2021 04:46AM
Not really political, I’m more interested in ideas on the best way to tax passenger and light truck vehicles. I personally like ton-mile taxing which has been done on heavy trucks. The heavier the vehicle, the more it pays in tax/mile. The weight part is easy for passenger and light truck vehicles. Mileage is a tough nut to crack. For example, driving across the country? The government will track you in order to prorate tax for miles in each state. In-state? Again, the government will track you - although in-state miles could be based on a meter in the vehicle.

[www.washingtonpost.com]

Bruce Starr spotted the problem right away: The hydrogen-powered cars General Motors was showing off on the Oregon Capitol grounds wouldn’t need gas. And if they didn’t need gas, drivers wouldn’t be paying gas taxes that fund the state’s roads.

It was 2001, and the problem seemed urgent. GM predicted the cars would be on the market in a few years. Starr, then a Republican state representative, created a task force to figure out the future of transportation funding.

“There’s no asphalt fairy out there that sprinkles asphalt in the night on our roadways,” he said recently.

Widespread production of hydrogen-powered cars has not come to pass, but GM is eyeing an all-electric fleet by 2035 with the backing of the Biden administration. That has lawmakers in state capitals across the country and in Washington increasingly confronting the question that troubled Starr two decades ago.

Many have settled on an answer: charging drivers a penny or two for each mile behind the wheel. But while such a system would bring in tax dollars for roads, it also would present a new set of obstacles.



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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Forrest
Date: March 13, 2021 05:08AM
The states that use EZPass could expand the system to figure out how many miles you drive. I see EZPass becoming mandatory. I believe anonymous EZPass data is already used to determine traffic speed on major highways that are not toll roads.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: March 13, 2021 05:52AM
I'm not sure a usage fee (which this is) is the correct route. On its face, it seems fair - charge those who are driving. But everyone, driving or not, benefits from roadways and it is in their interest to keep the roads up as much as drivers.

Perhaps the better way would be a universal base tax on everyone, and then an additional amount levied on vehicles based on annual mileage.



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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: space-time
Date: March 13, 2021 06:49AM
I am curious how they handle this in Germany, France, Switzerland and other places where they have excellent roads.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: March 13, 2021 07:12AM
Government can't keep tabs on its citizens based on fuel purchases...



EZ Pass is only the beginning.



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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: modelamac
Date: March 13, 2021 07:34AM
I think a usage fee(per mile or per ton-mile) is fair. The folks that don't drive are still paying it via the price they pay for purchased goods that are trucked to the store or via the bus pass they have. They don't use the roads as much but they still pay.

How to collect it is another matter. You will need some sort of meter in vehicles that calculates according to the rate for that vehicle. Then you need a meter reader independent of the driver/owner. Do you replace the gas station with a meter station and "pay at the meter"? Some method is needed to get the road tax funds to the state on a continuous basis.

Quote
Ombligo
I'm not sure a usage fee (which this is) is the correct route. On its face, it seems fair - charge those who are driving. But everyone, driving or not, benefits from roadways and it is in their interest to keep the roads up as much as drivers.

Perhaps the better way would be a universal base tax on everyone, and then an additional amount levied on vehicles based on annual mileage.



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sticker on my head and call it a day.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2021 07:56AM by modelamac.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: March 13, 2021 08:48AM
Easiest would be just having odometer readings recorded and reported each year at smog or inspection or license plate renewal time. However, some states currently have no inspection and do license renewals by mail. I'm confident the market would rapidly offer convenient remote-reporting options for people wanting to avoid having to visit the DMV once a year.

Better would be a GPS-based recorder that can tell how many miles on state highways vs. how many on county road vs. how many on private property. That presents privacy problems, of course, especially if the records can be subpoenaed by divorce lawyers. There are, however, some promising data-swapping techniques that could hide exactly what roads were traveled.

Now the equity aspects of taxation based on VMT (or its proxy, fuel use) would be a good discussion to have, but perhaps best reserved for the other side.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: TLB
Date: March 13, 2021 08:52AM
Our state just slaps a surtax on registrations of electric and hybrid vehicles. I pay $250 year higher registration on my hybrid than I do on my ICE only econobox.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 13, 2021 08:59AM
I’m always curious about the inefficiency of a toll system. What percent goes toward implementing and and maintaining a system?



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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 13, 2021 09:11AM
If the goal is how to maintain roads, you have to first agree roads are worth saving. If the goal is to come up with creative taxation, roads continue to not get repaired.

Quote
space-time
I am curious how they handle this in Germany, France, Switzerland and other places where they have excellent roads.

See the post directly above yours. When their citizens say, "We pay high taxes ..." the sentence isn't complete. It's followed by, "but ..." (a list of benefits not clouded by itemized or artificial worth.)

When Americans say they pay high taxes that's the end of the sentence. Therefore, taxes=bad. Americans are taught benefits are a zero-sum game. If it's good for you it must be bad for me.

Usage fees don't work well for many reasons, such as the obvious ones which have been cited by responses above. Everything becomes a workaround and the tax code becomes onerous.

It's charming, but naive. Life tends to be messier than that.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: March 13, 2021 09:52AM
Quote
TLB
Our state just slaps a surtax on registrations of electric and hybrid vehicles. I pay $250 year higher registration on my hybrid than I do on my ICE only econobox.

Seems like a solution, I'm surprised a government entity kept it that simple.



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Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: March 13, 2021 10:02AM
I would support an anonymous GPS system where the local and state governments could include congestion pricing. Odometer tampering has been at least a minor issue for more than 50 years, so that isn't the best solution.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: graylocks
Date: March 13, 2021 10:20AM
Quote
TLB
Our state just slaps a surtax on registrations of electric and hybrid vehicles. I pay $250 year higher registration on my hybrid than I do on my ICE only econobox.

GA has such a surcharge on full EV and I think it makes sense to have some a fee to help pay for our roads. The only problem is they completely pulled the figure out of their legislative butts and it's higher than the average georgia driver pays in those fees through the pump.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 13, 2021 11:43AM
Quote
Forrest
The states that use EZPass could expand the system to figure out how many miles you drive. I see EZPass becoming mandatory. I believe anonymous EZPass data is already used to determine traffic speed on major highways that are not toll roads.

EZPass works by measuring the distance you have driven on an EZPass-equipped road. For that to work everywhere, on every road in a state, the infrastructure costs would be enormous.

Then there are the privacy implications. It’s one thing to be tracked while on a short length of toll road — it’s another thing entirely to be tracked everywhere you drive.



It is what it is.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 13, 2021 11:47AM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
...an anonymous GPS system...

smiley-laughing001



It is what it is.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Ken Sp.
Date: March 13, 2021 11:49AM
California attaches a surcharge to EVs. It is fair.
Unfortunately, in CA, little of this fee and the gas tax go to road maintenance, and virtually none to expansion.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 13, 2021 12:09PM
Quote
Ken Sp.
Unfortunately, in CA, little of this fee and the gas tax go to road maintenance, and virtually none to expansion.

EXACTLY. As a CA resident, this has been a craw in my throat for decades. It’s not that I don’t agree taxes should be collected to maintain the roads and it’s not that CA hasn’t in fact collected them — it’s that they don’t get used for the purpose for which they were collected. Why should I support MORE taxes for the same purpose under such conditions?



It is what it is.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: March 13, 2021 01:01PM
I remember several years ago, some bill to raise gas tax was being fronted, with the provision that it could only be used for road repair, and it didn't get anywhere.

The roads around me are in a state.

When eVs started becoming a real thing, probably with the advent of Teslas, there was a lot of discussion about the eventual lack of gas tax should eVs become a "real thing" and how CA would suffer.

We will obviously have to pay some tax specific to owning eVs and not just using them, as opposed to burning fuel in an ICE car.

And as with gas tax, I foresee only a token amount being used for actual road repair.





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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: sekker
Date: March 13, 2021 01:16PM
This is such a complicated issue that looks simple on face value.

1) Transportation and access to jobs are not uniformly accessible. Toll roads in cities are actually a form of regressive taxes as those with less $$ tend to live further out from city center and thus drive further to get to work.

2) Happy to pay my part as an EV owner.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: testcase
Date: March 13, 2021 01:21PM
States ALREADY collect road use taxes. It collected AT THE PUMP in the form of FUEL taxes (which often get re-directed / mis-directed from what their original, approved by the voters, purpose had been). Hydrogen powered vehicles are a pipe dream. It would be cheaper, easier (and safer) to go in big on LNG / propane. Electric vehicles simply MOVE the pollution to wherever the electricity is generated so, it's NOT really a solution. Politicians ALWAYS want to spend OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. Until voters put their foot down, that's NOT going to change. That irresponsible spending IS the root cause of many (MOST?) of our problems.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 13, 2021 01:35PM
"Often?"

The first step in moving away from targeted taxation is being able to prove it's not being spent as advertised.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Mr Downtown
Date: March 13, 2021 04:09PM
A number of states have constitutional or "lockbox" provisions that particular fuel excise taxes—usually those sold to voters as being solely for road improvements—can, in fact, only be used for that purpose.

However, fuel taxes have also proven relatively painless to collect and to slowly increase. In our "starve the beast" era, that's a rarity among taxes. So in many states, they've been spent for other purposes—same as any kind of tax is. That infuriates my motorist friends, while the lockbox provisions infuriates my transit advocate friends. Among NUMTOTs, the current talking point is how incredibly unfair it is that 80% of federal Highway Trust Fund proceeds must be spent on roads, and only 20% on transit. Well, perhaps—until you consider that 100% of the money was collected under the political promise that it was a "user fee" that would fall only on motorists to improve roads. Congress, of course, is free to spend all the money they want on transit.

Though the fuel excise tax is politically a relatively painless one, it's actually quite regressive. Spending on fuel simply doesn't increase along with income or wealth. Yes, the urban poor can avoid the tax altogether if they have downtown jobs (now quite rare for the unskilled). And of course the vast majority of poor people live in rural areas, where there's simply no alternative to driving 20 miles one way to grandma's free child care and 20 mile the other direction to a job at the state prison or Walmart.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: March 13, 2021 05:41PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
...an anonymous GPS system...
smiley-laughing001

It could be done. Magnets or electric coils in the road and the system counts how many the car passes over. Put them closer together in high congestion areas.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Acer
Date: March 13, 2021 05:41PM
Transit gets people OFF the roads, leaving more space and less wear and tear for people ON the roads.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: March 13, 2021 07:39PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
...an anonymous GPS system...
smiley-laughing001

It could be done. Magnets or electric coils in the road and the system counts how many the car passes over. Put them closer together in high congestion areas.

Coils in the road isn't a GPS system. And how will distinguish between one car that drove over one mile's worth of coils and another that drove over ten?



It is what it is.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/13/2021 07:40PM by N-OS X-tasy!.
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: March 13, 2021 10:57PM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
...an anonymous GPS system...
smiley-laughing001
It could be done. Magnets or electric coils in the road and the system counts how many the car passes over. Put them closer together in high congestion areas.

Coils in the road isn't a GPS system. And how will distinguish between one car that drove over one mile's worth of coils and another that drove over ten?

Read up on how the Bluetooth Covid exposure app works.



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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: Buzz
Date: March 14, 2021 02:26PM
Quote
testcase
States ALREADY collect road use taxes. It collected AT THE PUMP in the form of FUEL taxes (which often get re-directed / mis-directed from what their original, approved by the voters, purpose had been). Hydrogen powered vehicles are a pipe dream. It would be cheaper, easier (and safer) to go in big on LNG / propane. Electric vehicles simply MOVE the pollution to wherever the electricity is generated so, it's NOT really a solution. Politicians ALWAYS want to spend OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. Until voters put their foot down, that's NOT going to change. That irresponsible spending IS the root cause of many (MOST?) of our problems.

After many years of having our once proud city's schools deteriorate, the city passed a local tax assessment that was supposed to solely help our schools. School help was the only thing those funds could be used for. It was incredibly well written, and very efficient, in that there was minimal overhead involved in getting the funds into the schools they were meant. Low and behold, as soon as we assessed ourselves in a way designed to help our kids, their teachers, the schools, and the programs that kept getting cut..... can anybody guess what happened next?


Yep, the state cut our city's school funding by the amount of our self-assessment. So much for helping our kids, their teachers, the schools, and the programs that kept getting cut.

If you think road taxes are any different, you're living on the wrong planet.
==
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Re: Two states tax some drivers by the mile. Many more want to give it a try.
Posted by: tenders
Date: March 14, 2021 03:37PM
This will be solved by levying a road use tax for EVs on top of existing registration fees. Maybe heavier vehicles will/should pay a higher tax than lighter vehicles, or there should be some additional tax on EV tires, but nothing more complicated than that will happen.

There is no way the hassles of creating a national mileage-monitoring system for collecting taxes will be worth the revenue.
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