Urban Fold

Mileage Tax the Newest Attempt at Addressing Traffic Concerns

Eric Jaffe reports that taxing vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) is getting a closer look in cities across America. But will concerns over privacy and government competence scuttle a promising path to reducing congestion and increasing revenue?

Last month, The Associated Press reported on a new proposal in the San Francisco Bay Area that could alleviate traffic congestion and increase road maintenance funds: implement a tax on vehicle-miles traveled that would be put towards updating and maintaining roads.

Miles traveled could be tracked either via GPS or odometer monitoring systems and would "charge drivers anywhere from fractions of a penny per mile up to a dime depending on the time of day. Based on current driving patterns, the mileage tax could deliver the Bay a daily revenue in the area of $15 million," notes Jaffe.

Although some transportation experts see a VMT fee system as a logical replacement for the outdated gas tax, and recent trial runs have produced some promising results, public feedback has not been positive. Says Jaffe, "The technology is here, and empirical justification isn't too far behind, and the need is arguably past."

Full Story: Is a VMT Tax a Good Idea?

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