House committee chairman James Oberstar, D-Minn., wants congress to enact a mileage-based tax on cars and trucks and believes the technology exists to get the program up and running in approximately 2 years. The income generated from the mileage-based tax system would be used to maintain and upgrade the country’s highway infrastructure. In Minnesota, Oberstar’s home state, road construction programs funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used to create jobs and help shake the state out of this depression.
The method of taxing people based on how far they drive is tied to GPS systems to be fitted into our vehicles. I imagine, if this should pass to law, all new cars sold in the United States would be required by law to have these GPS devices installed, and any other vehicle would likely be fitted with the device during state inspections. Likely there would also be some sort of “grandfather” clause for older vehicles whose worth might be less than that of the GPS device.
The problem with the current system, which taxes gas purchased as opposed to miles driven, is that 1) people are driving less due to the state of the economy and 2) cars are driving farther – in some cases much farther – on a single tank of gas. Go figure. The problem I have with all of this is that even with the state of the economy, even with more fuel efficient cars, Americans still purchase an insane amount of gasoline (just ask Exxon), and therefore the taxes the government receives should be more than enough to take care of any and all of our highways, and likely Mexico’s and Canada’s, too.
It seems to me that taxes aren’t the problem so much as the symptom; the problem is mismanagement, and perhaps if the officials in government worked as hard at coming up with new ideas for becoming more efficient as they did looking for new ideas on how to tax the people of this country, there would be worthwhile changes…and those changes would actually get things done.