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Future of Transportation Taxation and ways to move about the country

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Posted by schlimm on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1:22 PM

jeaton

It is an interesting study and the concept of a direct user fee (nice euphanism for tax) will be a sap for those who insist that they only want to pay taxes for those things that provide them a direct benefit.

The idea has been previously discussed here on the forum and my thought that conversion to another system to collect could be very expensive.  In addition to the of the new black box that would have to be installed in every vehicle, the cost to install the infrastructure to collect the tax will probably bring the total to many billions.

Another wrinkle.  The current fuel taxes, licensing and fees, and tolls laid directly on vehicle owner/operators only pay about 65% of the total cost to build and maintain our streets and highways.  The balance is paid out of general tax revenues, property taxes and other miscellaneous revenue sources.  If all the street and highway cost was paid directly by the users, there would sure be a big jump in the cost of operating a car. Hmmmm... 

 

Very true, except the folks living in the wide open spaces probably won't want to let go of the highway subsidy they've been receiving for years, courtesy of urban/suburban dwellers (see other posters).  The idea of using a black box to make everyone pay is a typical libertarian ploy to eliminate government functions.  By the same silly logic, someone who doesn't see the need for a large, expensive standing military (George Washington and Eisenhower opposed this) should be excused of paying for it.  In a broad, social contract way, we all benefit from many services from which we don't receive direct services.  Example: I (and many others on this forum) no longer have any children in school, yet the bulk of my property tax goes for education.

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Posted by overall on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 1:00 PM

So, under "necessity of the trip", if I want to make a trip to the hobby shop to get that new Lionel steam locomotive I want, do I get charged extra for that?

George

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Posted by ButchKnouse on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:46 PM

If they do it like Europe, they'll just tax the price of gasoline up to six bucks a gallon and use that for the transportation.

 Of course if you live in a rural area with no public transportation and you have to drive everywhere, you will be paying for something that does nothing for you.

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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:07 PM

samfp1943

Here in our area (South Central Kansas) some time in the later part of 2009; there were advertisements for participants in a federally funded Uinv of Iowa study that was going to attempt to track with on-board monitors the traffic and driving patterns of this Region.    The ulitmate goal was to find ways to be able to assess new road use taxes based upon usage of those roads and drivers trip needs and the States abilities to track usage (mileage) for the purpose of leveling use taxes.

Here's a quote and link to the study web site:  http://www.roaduserstudy.org/

"...The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is conducting a federally funded study to see how the public responds to the new mileage-based road user charge system. We are looking for participants for this study to develop and test the best possible system for vehicle drivers. The study is very important, as this system could one day replace the gas system....

Participants in the study will have the on-board computer temporarily installed in their vehicles. This installation will not in any way damage the vehicle.  The computer will store a record of charges due from road use. This record will be uploaded to a data processing center. If the system were to be put into practice, the center would then bill the vehicle owner. For the study, however, no money will be collected..." 

And here is the title and link to the Univ of Iowa's web site on the National study:

Project Overview
National Evaluation of a Mileage-Based Road User Charge


http://ppc.iowa.uiowa.edu/dnn4/TransportationbrPolicyResearch/RoadUserChargeStudy/tabid/65/Default.aspx

Regarding the above, here is a piece that I wrote in 2005 concerning the pay-as-you-go universal toll road concept that is moving forward on several fronts.  The purpose of this piece is to show where it is headed.  Tripmaster is just my term for the purpose of naming the concept at this time.  I have revised the dates to the perspective of 2010. 

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   HOW WE FIXED THE TRAFFIC CRISIS;

Looking at history from the year 2025

 

IN THE YEAR 2010:  We are standing at the frontier of a brave new era in motoring.  We are told that the increasing fuel efficiency of cars is reducing the gas tax revenue that is needed to maintain and build roads, and that the remedy is to pay the tax by the mile rather than by the gallon.  It’s simple.  The State will install a GPS tracking device in our cars, which will communicate the miles we have driven to a computer in the gas pump when we fill up.  Then the tax will be charged and collected when we pay for the gas.  So we will still be paying the tax at the gas station, but it will be based on the miles driven rather than gallons consumed.  If you think about it, it really turns every road into a toll way and every gas station into a tollbooth.

 

TEN YEARS FROM NOW:  We will look back wistfully at the days when the only purpose for the government installed GPS tracker was to collect gas tax by the mile rather than by the gallon.  Let’s fast-forward fifteen years and take a look.  In the year 2025, the GPS tracker has evolved considerably, and is now called the TRIPMASTER.   The light rail transit fad of fifteen years ago has since been made obsolete by the development of this Tripmaster. 

 

Instead of a government run transportation system of trains and tracks, we now have a government system of personal transportation devices (PTDs).  We can choose from several makes and models, just as we always used to do with cars, but the Tripmaster makes today’s PTD a far different animal than the cars we once knew.  Although the PTDs are gas powered, rubber-tired, driver operated, road vehicles, just like the cars were, there has been a reduction of the higher levels of performance that were once popular with cars.  In fact, because the special communication and safety equipment of the PTD adds to its cost, that added cost is partially offset by a corresponding reduction in performance compared to the cars we once knew.

 

The Tripmaster doesn’t actually drive the PTD, it just oversees the operation of the driver.  Gone are the days of police watching for traffic violations, issuing citations, levying fines, and hoping for collection.  Violations such as red light running, and lane control are immediately detected and processed by the Tripmaster.   We have long been told that driving is a privilege, so we now must post a driving privilege deposit (DPD) to provide the security that tolls and any fines that happen to be levied are paid.  Fines are levied either as a one-time charge, or as a surcharge to future tolls at the discretion of the Tripmaster.

 

Today, our motoring adventure begins much like in the past, but with a few important differences.  We enter the PTD, fasten our restraints, and turn the key.  But instead of the engine roaring to life, the key simply opens a communication with the Tripmaster.  Our journey cannot begin until we have registered our trip plan with this cyber authority through his Trip Registration Wizard.  There is also the option of open voice contact that begins with a message stating the approximate hold time, usually about five minutes.   

 

With the more convenient wizard, we simply enter our destination and purpose, and the Tripmaster determines our route, and calculates the toll, which will automatically be deducted from our privilege deposit once the trip is finished.  The toll will vary according to the time of day, traffic density of the roads involved, weather conditions, purpose and necessity of the trip, the ability to pay, and the weight of occupants and non-human load.  These little PTD cars are smart, so they automatically measure and register these loads.  Once the Tripmaster states the toll, we simply hit “enter,” the Tripmaster unlocks our PTD, and away we go, just like a car.

 

It was only a few years ago that we had to watch our speed or the Tripmaster would deduct a fine from our PDP account.  But today, the Tripmaster simply limits our speed automatically to what has been established for our route.  We could not speed if we wanted to.   In addition to limiting our speed, the Tripmaster can change that limit according to such variables such as traffic density, weather conditions, work zones, and emergencies.  Speed control of vehicles is generally done according to conditions or zones so that all vehicles within that zone are limited to the same speed, however, the Tripmaster can also set the maximum speed for each vehicle independently, allowing different maximum speeds for two vehicles that are right next to each other for instance, giving one vehicle priority over another if necessary. 

 

Of course, it goes without saying that the Tripmaster can simply drop your speed to zero under the mandatory stop procedure, if there is reason to do so.  Usually, however, this procedure is only used for special circumstances such the detection of a released occupant restraint, the detection of smoke or food and drink aroma, or other distraction violations such as cell phone use or excessive conversation.   This procedure suddenly takes a PTD out of service, and parks it in a safety zone where it must wait for a visit from a traveling safety officer.  Only a few years ago, officials were worrying about how to get us out of our cars and into public transportation.   Who would have thought that the solution would be to simply leave us in our cars, and turn the cars into public transportation?

    

 

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Posted by jeaton on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:41 AM

It is an interesting study and the concept of a direct user fee (nice euphanism for tax) will be a sap for those who insist that they only want to pay taxes for those things that provide them a direct benefit.

The idea has been previously discussed here on the forum and my thought that conversion to another system to collect could be very expensive.  In addition to the of the new black box that would have to be installed in every vehicle, the cost to install the infrastructure to collect the tax will probably bring the total to many billions.

Another wrinkle.  The current fuel taxes, licensing and fees, and tolls laid directly on vehicle owner/operators only pay about 65% of the total cost to build and maintain our streets and highways.  The balance is paid out of general tax revenues, property taxes and other miscellaneous revenue sources.  If all the street and highway cost was paid directly by the users, there would sure be a big jump in the cost of operating a car.

Hmmmm...

"We have met the enemy and he is us." Pogo Possum "We have met the anemone... and he is Russ." Bucky Katt "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." Niels Bohr, Nobel laureate in physics

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Future of Transportation Taxation and ways to move about the country
Posted by samfp1943 on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:16 AM

There is a current thread "What's it going to take for HSR to succeed"  it is now at about 73 responses and lots of lookers; and I did not want to be seen as trying to co-opt that Thread' 

It is a topic(HSR) we have examined in this Forum in more than one visitation(some might say examined to death).     It is a timely topic, but seems to get mired down in other issues and opinions and becomes a bother to follow.My 2 cents

We are going to get some kind of HSR in some areas, and in some corridors. It is politically popular, and the pols seem to play with it constantly; in one way or another. It will be difficult to realoize and to overcome all sorts of political and social obstacles as it comes about. Everything from NIMBY's to who will run the Darn things, where and when, and so on,and on.

It is Passenger rail, and IMHO it is going to get here at some time.   A key issue is going to be where the monies come from to pay for whatever system we get ,and in what form it arrives.  There is also a current thread referencing the Billionaire financier Carl Ichan and his getting into the equipment building and providing aspects of this 'new' area of public transport; so I would guess that some necessary plans are afoot to start us down that slippery slope to HSR or more Passenger rail transport.

Here in our area (South Central Kansas) some time in the later part of 2009; there were advertisements for participants in a federally funded Uinv of Iowa study that was going to attempt to track with on-board monitors the traffic and driving patterns of this Region.    The ulitmate goal was to find ways to be able to assess new road use taxes based upon usage of those roads and drivers trip needs and the States abilities to track usage (mileage) for the purpose of leveling use taxes.

Here's a quote and link to the study web site:  http://www.roaduserstudy.org/

"...The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is conducting a federally funded study to see how the public responds to the new mileage-based road user charge system. We are looking for participants for this study to develop and test the best possible system for vehicle drivers. The study is very important, as this system could one day replace the gas system....

Participants in the study will have the on-board computer temporarily installed in their vehicles. This installation will not in any way damage the vehicle.  The computer will store a record of charges due from road use. This record will be uploaded to a data processing center. If the system were to be put into practice, the center would then bill the vehicle owner. For the study, however, no money will be collected..." 

And here is the title and link to the Univ of Iowa's web site on the National study:

Project Overview
National Evaluation of a Mileage-Based Road User Charge


http://ppc.iowa.uiowa.edu/dnn4/TransportationbrPolicyResearch/RoadUserChargeStudy/tabid/65/Default.aspx

 

 


 

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