According to The Weekly Standard article entitiled And Miles to Go Before We're Taxed, there are some consequences as a result of the environmental movement's success in getting laws passed that forced car manufacturers to build hybrids and more fuel efficient cars. High gas prices have also contributed to less driving. Result...less fuel bought. The problem...less gas tax revenue being collected to fund highway maintenance and other transportation infrastructure repairs.
But now the green movement’s hard-won gains against emissions are bumping up against another of its passions: tax revenues. Because more and more Americans have switched to less fuel-hungry cars (and because some Americans have dropped driving altogether), gas tax receipts have fallen precipitously. It’s a “problem” created directly by the success of environmentalist goals.What to do? What to do? Well, a Dem from Oregon thinks he has it all figured out:
Enter the prickly, greener-than-thou Representative Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, who wants to require the Treasury Department to “study” ways to replace the gas tax with a vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) tax.
Blumenauer’s bill died in committee last month. According to his spokesman Patrick Malone, however, Blumenauer plans on reintroducing the bill in the next Congress. It’s an idea that’s gaining momentum. President Obama claims to oppose the VMT tax, though his transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, has said it’s a proposal that “should be looked at.” Several European countries are planning to implement VMT taxes in the coming decade.Well, if Europe thinks it's a good idea, no doubt Mr. Obama will come around to liking it in his second term.
How will the government know what your mileage is? Why, with some kind of government tracking device attached to your car, silly. Oregon has already done a pilot program:
A VMT tax pilot program involving about 50 drivers in Blumenauer’s home state of Oregon that’s been in effect since 2006 isn’t encouraging. According to Governing magazine, “That study involved using GPS devices to collect data on the number of miles traveled by each motorist, transferring the data to gas stations, and levying the appropriate fee when drivers filled their tanks.”According to the article, The American Society of Civil Engineers has given America's infrastructure a grade of D. The article states that over the past 4 years, Congress has given $50 Billion from the general fund to the highway trust fund. Unfortunately, the highway trust fund gets raided and used for other purposes..and this didn't just start with Mr. Obama's presidency:
A recent GAO study reported that between 2004 and 2008, some $78 billion from the highway trust fund was used for “purposes other than construction and maintenance of highways and bridges.” A 2009 report prepared by the offices of Senators Tom Coburn and John McCain found that “Congress raids the highway trust fund for pet projects while bridges and roads crumble.” For example, states must now spend a certain percentage of their highway trust funds on “transportation enhancement” projects. Eligible “transportation enhancement” categories include the “provision of pedestrian and bicycle facilities,” the “acquisition of scenic or historic easement and sites,” and the “establishment of transportation museums.” In a development to warm the cockles of Rep. Blumenauer’s heart, between 2004 and 2008, $2 billion from the highway trust fund was spent on 5,500 projects for pedestrians and bicycles. Yet again, the dwindling of the highway trust fund—a problem that only a VMT tax can fix!—is a direct result of policies that Blumenauer and his green allies support.Looks like, once again, a bunch of porkers in the Congress are wasting tax dollars.
"Transportation museums"...really? Uh.
I don't know if the VMT tax will ever be implemented, but I wouldn't be surprised if they try to push it on us. Anything to wring another dime from our pockets. Wonder how the low-information voters will react if their hero pulls this one off.
Read the article:
And Miles to Go Before We’re Taxed
The green plan to have Uncle Sam watch your odometer. BY ETHAN EPSTEIN
Another take on the issue:
Virgina Governor Bob McDonnell has a different idea to raise funds for infrastructure repair.