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March 25th, 2011
They're About to Tax Every Mile You Drive
CBO: Taxing mileage a 'practical option' for revenue enhancement 
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released a report that said taxing people based on how many miles they drive is a possible option for raising new revenues and that these taxes could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.
The report discussed the proposal in great detail, including the development of technology that would allow total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to be tracked, reported and taxed, as well as the pros and cons of mandating the installation of this technology in all vehicles.

"In the past, the efficiency costs of implementing a system of VMT charges particularly the costs of users' time for slowing and queuing at tollbooths would clearly have outweighed the potential benefits from more efficient use of highway capacity," CBO wrote. "Now, electronic metering and billing are making per-mile charges a practical option."
The report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who held a hearing on transportation funding in early March. In that hearing, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama administration is hoping to spend $556 billion over the next six years, much of which would go to federal transportation improvement projects.
On how to implement the idea, CBO said it is unclear how much it would cost to "install metering equipment in all of the nation's cars and trucks."
"Having the devices installed as original equipment under a mandate to vehicle manufacturers would be relatively inexpensive but could lead to a long transition; requiring vehicles to be retrofitted with the devices could be faster but much more costly, and the equipment could be more susceptible to tampering than factory-installed equipment might be," CBO said.
The report added that VMT taxes could be tracked and even collected at filling stations. "If VMT taxes were collected at the pump, each time fuel was purchased, information would be sent from a device in the vehicle to a device at the filling station," it said.
CBO also suggested different VMT tax rates might be assessed to different vehicles because heavier vehicles do more road damage, and rates might change depending on whether miles are driven at peak use times or during less congested hours.

CBO did acknowledge that privacy concerns may be a hurdle to implementing a VMT tax because electronic tracking of miles driven might provide too much personal information to the government. However, CBO noted that some have proposed restricting the information that would be transmitted to the government.





Bicyclist - 2011-03-28
Wait until they start taxing bicyclist. When not a shoe tax? I wear size 16, so I guess it will cost me more to walk.
by Michael

Six years? - 2011-03-25
I noticed it said that the Obama administtration would like to spend $556 billion over the next 6 six years. I wonder how they expect to do that when he will only be in office another 2.
by Smitty

John Q Public - 2011-03-25
Better Idea how about instead of ripping off Americans like myself who enjoy driving and create a bill that requires heavier taxation to anyone who holds a political office. That way people who hold that office will see it as a public service and not a free ride on tax payers backs.
by Andrew Clough

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