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Transportation agency: Obama will not pursue mileage tax -


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Transportation agency: Obama will not pursue mileage tax -
Topic: Politics and Law 11:54 am EST, Feb 21, 2009

Under a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) tax program, GPS units would allow the government to keep track of how much each car is driven and where -- though not necessarily with exact street locations. The government could also track other things, including the time each car enters a certain zone.

For decades, the fuel taxes that drivers pay at the pump have been the central source of federal and state funding for roads and bridges. But they are no longer nearly enough. Last fall, Congress approved an $8 billion infusion into the depleted federal highway trust fund.

The problem stems in part from something good: More and more Americans are buying vehicles that have better gas mileage. That means less gas tax money from each car, though the car is causing the same amount of wear and tear on the roads.

Yeah, because my 1994 Toyota Camry get's between 29-36mpg, and causes GREAT wear on the roads.

This would penalize those of us who choose to live outside the concrete and pollution filled urban centers but have to commute into them.

How about setting up funding for the projects that we've been "promised", like light rail (between Athens and Atlanta Georgia?), better bus routes from the outlying areas that actually make sense, and less focus on the highway system in Downtown, which is an absolute failure?

In the past 10 years, we've watched the Georgia DOT make the exact same mistakes that Los Angeles made 20 years ago, and the Georgia DOT expected different results. Instead, Air Quality in Atlanta has gone down, Atlanta is now a "hot-spot" for Child-Asthma, we have "Smog-Alert" days for the city, and it's due mostly to the emissions from vehicles that are sitting idle on the Highways trying to get to and from the Atlanta businesses during rush hour.

Many of us with children have chosen to move far outside the city, where we have fresh air, less noise and light pollution, and have chosen to "suffer" the commute to the jobs we work. We moved out to the far reaches of the Atlanta "suburbs" to escape all that is bad about the city, while protecting our children's health and well being.

We "suffer" the commute into the city, with a small portion using the limited mass transit system available, and the rest of us having to drive solo due to work schedules, lack of timely mass transit solutions to our employer's areas, and the need to have a vehicle for our job duties.

Adding a mileage based system that would not only track our mileage, but the times that we performed this driving would financially punish us even further, for our decisions to make our children's life better. The alternate solutions of "telecommuting" would have to be embraced by Atlanta companies on a much greater scale, as I'm not currently allowed to work more than 1 day a week from home. (For the most part, this is not currently feasible, as the company doesn't have a good infrastructure setup for this type of employee yet.)

While I agree that the current system doesn't work that well, making changes to the system without fully understanding the consequences for the workforce that would be impacted by these type of changes is a mistake. How about promoting low rolling resistance tires? They don't wear the road system the same, nor do all vehicles wear the road system today. What about motorcycles? Would they pay less tax per mile travelled? Gross Vehicle Weight has much more to do with damage to the road system than does miles travelled, how about putting the tax on vehicles that way?

There has to be better ways!

Transportation agency: Obama will not pursue mileage tax -

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