Mileage Based User Fees
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Jan 3, 2013
Rather than pay for road use by the gallon, people would pay by miles driven. So those who own Priuses or electric cars -- and cause the same damage to the roads -- would no longer get a free (or cheap) ride by buying less fuel.
How it works
Researchers from MNDOT and elsewhere explained how such a system might work. Every car would have a device installed, a kind of GPS or global positioning system. It would contain customized software that counted miles and periodically collected a fee by credit card or PayPal.
A demonstration of the technology, authorized by the 2007 Legislature, is already underway, with its last wave launching this month. So far, drivers in Wright County have tested devices for four-month periods. According to Christopher Armstrong of Science Applications International, which conducted the test, preliminary results showed that drivers pretty much liked the system -- and liked it more as the test went along. And, the demo was set so that drivers wound up with much the same bill they would have had if they had paid gas the tax. What's more, the devices not only kept track of miles but issued safety warnings when, for example, the car entered a school zone or exceeded the speed limit. In fancier variations, the system could levy extra charges if the car used roads that were highly congested or traveled at times when traffic was heavy.
There were some drawbacks. Some people forgot to put the mile-counter in their cars. The devices weren't always accurate. Drivers thought the safety warnings were useful -- for other people, of course -- but distracting.
Researchers were surprised to learn that drivers weren't that concerned about privacy. The government or whoever else had access to the information would know where you went and when, for example, that seedy motel on Route 25 or the ice cream parlor that Weight Watchers told you to avoid. But those in the study were less worried about the government than hackers who might steal credit card numbers.
An opinion poll conducted about the same time found that Minnesotans liked the idea of MBUF and thought it would be fair to charge drivers of heavier vehicles more, since they put more stress on the roads. They weren't wild about congestion and time-of-day pricing, however, because most people can't choose when they have to report for work or pick up their kids from daycare.
MBUF sounded very cool, but then representatives of the trucking industry raised objections. Some were silly -- that the system would be inflationary, for example, if it assessed charges by vehicle weight.
But others made sense. Daniel Murray of the American Transportation Institute, a trucking association, pointed out that buying and installing the devices would cost billions. Instead of collecting the tax from a relatively small number of oil companies, the state would have to create an expensive system to exact payment from hundreds of thousands of drivers. Boosting collection costs would leave less money to fix and build roads. Hybrids and electric cars would continue to be a tiny portion of the market, he argued. So gas taxes would still be a reliable source of funding.
John Hausladen of the Minnesota Trucking Association contended that MBUF was "a bad, unnecessary idea, just an effort to get more money." There are more efficient ways to raise funds for highways: increase the gas tax and hike registration and licensing fees.
Several speakers pointed out that in the current anti-tax climate, it wouldn't be so easy to get legislators to raise the gas tax. Others said that getting legislators to pass the mileage-based system would also be tough.
Margaret Donahoe, executive director of the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, an advocacy group, summed it all up. "It's hard to get anything passed," she said.
i like it everyone needs to ride the bus once in a while like europe
#2 Jan 3, 2013
Let me see.
Currently if I drive more miles I buy more gas hence I pay more gas tax.
If I drive a heavy vehicle, or truck I get worse gas millage so I buy more gas hence I pay more tax.
If I drive a hybred gas/ electric car I use less gas hence I pay less gas tax.
I see NO advantage to the pure gas tax issue. It IS a rip off to get more revenue, create more government jobs overseeing this. I don't the idea of the government knowing where and when I go, talk about big brother! People aren't concerned about this?
BAD idea! BAD policy if implemented!
Saint Paul, MN
#3 Jan 3, 2013
Jim Oberstar was pushing this model. Bad idea, it might have been one of the factors that cost him his seat in the House of Representatives.
#4 Jan 3, 2013
Ever seen a fact, you didn't twist to your dumb purposes ???
#5 Jan 3, 2013
That would be YOU Slew.
#6 Jan 3, 2013
Yep, in "teabagger territory" that's a real tough taunt, right moron ??? LMAOROTFu !!!
#7 Jan 3, 2013
That would be you ??? Man, if you're looking to lower standards, you're a wiener....
#8 Jan 3, 2013
The Thread is; "Mileage Based User Fees"
Did you have a Comment or a Thought of someone else's that you wished to Cut/Paste so that "we" will feel that you are not an ignorant, abusive pig who only posts because or your evil nature, hideous appearance, and Mental Illness?
#9 Jan 4, 2013
Next up is Real ID (passed 2005, goes into effect 2014, full implementation 2017) if you're worried about something that may happen why isn't anyone worried about this?
#10 Jan 4, 2013
More wasted taxdollars on junk..
As it is they should remove: all ramp meters, digital signs that are always out of date, traffic cameras, HOV/MnPASS lanes, Highway Helpers, speed sensors, sound barrier walls, and the other high tech stuff that wastes hundreds of millions. Take the saved money and build new/expanded freeways in the metro!!
Then they should give State Troopers a $100 bonus if they clear a non-injury wreck in 5 mins,$75 for 10 mins,$50 for 15 mins.. Then if they take more than 30 mins dock their pay $100 etc.
MnDOT is so dysfunctional it would be funny if not so sad.
#11 Jan 4, 2013
Leftist social engineering is upset at what you have to say, Karl Marx is not amused
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