Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pros And Cons Of Taxing Vehicle Miles Travelled

I've been trying to get this article that @Charles gave me posted for a week now. Times are busy here at SRTC.

The article, from the AccountingToday website (yes, even accountants have a tie to transportation. It affects everyone), talks about the pros and cons of possibly imposing taxes on vehicle miles travelled, instead of raising gas taxes to raise the money needed to keep our transportation system going. The biggest pro: you only pay when you drive so if you can't afford it, drive less. The biggest con: The way the program is proposed in this article, it would require expensive metering devices in every car to measure miles driven.

The biggest pro for me about this article: The comments that follow. Especially the one from 'Bob' who suggests putting Americans back to work by hiring more government workers. Instead of putting a metering device in each car, a government worker would be placed in every car to mark your mileage.

While that comment is funny, there are some pretty thought-provoking ideas and statements posted, so check it out and let me know if you have any thoughts that weren't already covered.


Anonymous said...

The biggest pro: you only pay when you drive so if you can't afford it, drive less.

This is exactly how gas taxes work.

SRTC Staff said...

That's very True @LukeB. A VMT tax would most likely be in addition to gas taxes so I suspect, if something like this comes into play, we'll be hearing from a lot more people who can't afford to pay both. I already hear from a lot of people complaining about the high gas prices, yet the majority of them haven't changed to using public tranist or other methods of transportation. Guess they haven't reached their threshold yet.

Anonymous said...

Well, people look at me funny when I suggest that gas costs 1/2 what it should. I say raise the gas taxes and quit accommodating personal vehicle transportation.

This is why I'm not a politician :-)

SRTC Staff said...

Yeah, you'd never last in office :) I hear that a lot too, mostly from the folks who bicycle as their main form of transportation or those who have travelled to Europe and other countries where gas is super expensive. In the same day though I hear others complain that the government needs to do something about the cost of gas. Uh yeah, they're trying, but it's probably going to be in the opposite direction of what those folks want.

Charles Hansen said...

Well as we get more electric vehicles and high mileage gas vehicles we will need something to keep the roads repaired as less and less gas is sold. Don't really want a government employee in my car recording how much I drive either.

SRTC Staff said...

Not just electric vehicles but vehicles with much better gas mileage in general. I saw a commercial last night for the new Mustang, and they claim it gets 36 miles per gallon! Yep, gas tax revenue is dropping while everything else goes up.

Beleive me, NO ONE wants a government employ in their car. We can be an annoying bunch. Tend to be backseat drivers.

Sara William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara William said...

To hire such a vehicle transportation facility is cost effective, as you will have to pay only when you will drive. thus, you can control your expenditure by driving less.

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.