TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: CA DMV Chief Backs Tax by Mile

Re: CA DMV Chief Backs Tax by Mile

Lisa Hancock (
2 Dec 2004 12:37:01 -0800

Monty Solomon <> wrote:

> The idea would mean a significant overhaul of how California collects
> taxes to maintain its often-crumbling roads. Under the plan, the state
> gas tax -- now 18 cents a gallon -- would be replaced with a tax on
> every mile traveled by each car and truck.

Sounds like it would be much easier to simply raise the gas tax. I
can't help but wonder if they're even serious about this or if this is
a joke.

Putting tracking devices in every vehicle and then reading said
devices would be enormously expensive and a bureacratic nightmare.

How would such devices handle out of state driving?

The critics are correct that a mileage tax would cease encouraging
people to drive more fuel efficient cars.

Like it or not, gas taxes have not kept up. Cars overall are more
efficient than years ago -- things like front-wheel drive, fuel
injection, and plastic instead of metal all improve efficiency.

Also, the fuel tax does not go up for inflation.

Road costs continually go up as well. Modern roads cost more as land
costs go up, as well as more sophisticated safety and traffic features
that are added to roads.

This isn't a problem just in California but in all states. We
like to drive and that costs money, an awful lot of it.

Note that the great master highway builder, Robert Moses of NY, wrote
that roads should be tolled and support costs -- police/fire/
rescue/traffic court -- should be included as a cost of running a

Trains and buses are much more efficient in high density corridors,
but the country has moved toward low-density sprawl in homes and
workplaces which isn't good for transit use. Amtrak is carrying
record ridership, but the govt wants to kill it off.

We also have many more people going off in many directions as kids are
shuttled between divorced parents, kids driving to school and then
work/activities afterward, and both parents working and running
errands. Before the big social changes of the 1970s there was less
people driving as much since the wife could do her shopping in the
daytime and the kids took the bus to school. I do think kids should
be strongly discouraged from driving to school since there usually are
schoolbuses or public transit to take them.

They talk about telecommuting and a few people are doing it, but I
don't see too much enthusiasm for the vast majority of workers. We
had a fellow in poor health that wanted to telecommute but mgmt was
not interested and they aren't encouraging the idea. Business still
requires face-to-face for the good commuication.

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