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Transportation secretary says taxing how much we drive may replace gasoline tax

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by sacase, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-lahood-vehicle-mileage-tax,0,6754105,print.story

    WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

    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?"

    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.

    ___
  2. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    Then the travel industry takes a hit and then I quit driving to extra places see people will just quit doing things knowing it will cost them.

    The governement is just going to have to learn to trim their budget like the rest of us
  3. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    The Law of Un-intented consequenses..........Its just a another law that Democrats dont mind breaking....

    but like my teenager......its always someone elses fault---or someone else did it also......

    Fannie mae broke millions and banning DDT killed millions-----but hey they felt good at the time.....its all about feeling good, no matter what the end consequense.

    ......if you want less of something....tax it......:rolleyes:
  4. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    The guy who wants to do this is Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and he is a Republican.
  5. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    .......how about making people that use the Govt Subsidized Mass Transit---Pay for it in higher Fares:eek:

    studies show how if priced at FMValue.....mass transit would die on the vine.

    then Gas tax could be used for highway maintianence as it should be.......
  6. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    Which means he needs to turn in his card then again now a days I do not even see a difference between most Republicans or Democrats.

    The republican party really needs to clean house starting at the grass root levels
  7. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    What kills me is how can people be so up in arms about the Warrentless wiretaps, but ok with having a GPS that tracks you everywhere you go and downloads the information directly to the government.
  8. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Oh I think this is a BS Idea...But don't blame it on the Democrats or Obama at this point after all the guy who brought it up in the first place is a Republican.
  9. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    I'm not OK with it at all.

    HATE IT.
  10. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    I did not blame it on the Dems that was someone else

    I said the Government period.

    Like I said the Government needs to learn to do with out and that goes for both sides of the isle.
  11. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    Cabinet members do the will of the President, his cabinet member are not free lancing. You think Hillary is going to be cutting any deals without the full approval of the President
  12. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Doesn't matter. He's a Republican and if he didn't agree with it he could always resign like Sen. Judd Gregg did.

    He obviously thinks this is a good idea...he is the one putting the idea out there...he's the face of it now.

    Amazing that a Republican would think this way.
  13. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    I'm not saying you blame the Democrats...Sbark was the one who was.
  14. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    That does not take any of the reponsiblity from the president it is his man I don't care what party he is from he is a cabinet member he is not the president of the united states, he does his job at the will of the President nothing is done without the approval of the president. You want to make this out to be a republican proposal then you really are blinded by the Obama star power.
  15. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    And yet Gregg had no problem resigning when he didn't agree with Obama.

    This man won't.

    You know why?

    Because he thinks it's a good idea and the man's a Republican.

    This is a Bipartisan BS plan.
  16. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

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    I really don't care whose plan it is, I am starting to get tired of all this government oversight and all of these creative new taxes.
  17. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt °¤~Cold Eternal~¤° Staff Member

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    I guess the ONLY good thing that could come from this is if you could buy loads of cheap tax free gas and store it until they realized how stupid this tax by mileage system and return to just taxing gas. Then you would have a big amount of gas to use thought you bought cheap.

    Now of course that is not really going to happen because most people don't have the means to store gas like that but if you did it would be a good play.

    So...I hate the idea for a multitude of reasons. The GPS tracking thing is crazy. Besides the idea of them tracking you every where think of the money involved to install it on all cars that do not have them. Plus the idea of paying someone to monitor it, plus upkeep of the equipment. I mean could you imagine them tracking me via Google Earth and I pull up to some predator drones and they take pictures of it...geez.

    Just pure idiocy.

    I mean I get the idea of wanting people to use public transport...but that does not exactly work when you live in rural areas. And it is not going to help anyone to afford gas any better because the gas you would use would turn into taxed miles anyway.

    I might have to pull a Wayne Brady on this republican for bringing it up and the idiot Dems for thinking it is feasible.
  18. SkinsFan28

    SkinsFan28 Member

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    Wouldn't this in effect reverse the trend of economy cars, or dampen it. Right now the more efficient your car the less tax per mile, and the less efficient your car the more the tax per mile.

    As for unintended consequences the government(both parties) never acknowledge them and then when they occur, they blame the other parties interference with their "perfect" plan.
  19. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know who is responsible for this but I would ask you the following:

    If President Obama and the Democratic Lead Government were not responsible for something like this, why then is former President Bush responsible for the current economic situation when it was Democratic Lead government who created the stage for the Housing Bubble? I mean, I'm just asking you if that goes both ways?
  20. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    I'm sure Obama will come out and say he is against it.

    Right before he signs a bill that endorses it.

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