The Metropolitan Transportation Commission in California has just commissioned a study called “Vehicle Miles Traveled” intended to help raise much-needed revenue for road maintenance and public transportation. The new program is looking at ways of using GPS devices to monitor drivers and then assess a tax based on how much they drive.
No doubt the issue will raise red flags for a number of people including those who feel the state is intruding on their privacy and those who feel they are being taxed enough. But California is hardly alone in this effort. Florida, too, is looking at a plan to tax drivers based on the miles they drive and at the national level both parties have put forth similar ideas.
There is no question that more funds are needed to repair crumbling infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and that not enough revenue is being derived through current methods to expand public transportation, but there are an abundance of questions about who should pay for these improvements, and how.
In the coming months, as the California program is tested and the ability of the state to track your miles driven and assess taxes based on these numbers improves, it seems likely some form of taxed-for-driving will be implemented. How people will respond to this system, intended to be more fair by only charge those people who use the roads more, is yet to be seen.