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Dave Cline of Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, California, Utah and Oregon

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

$50 parking and the Road Use Tax

The Oregon pilot is ongoing.

  • July 2001: With the steady erosion of revenue from the state's gas tax, the Oregon State Legislature creates the Road User Fee Task Force to examine various alternatives for replacing Oregon's gas tax as the primary source of revenues for repairing, maintaining, and building Oregon's roads.
  • December 2001: Oregon Department of Transportation receives first of three grants from the Federal Highway Administration's Value Pricing Program to fund Task Force projects.
  • March 2003: RUFTF, administered by ODOT, presents the idea of a mileage-based charge because it is a fair, simple, and affordable way to generate road revenue.
  • May 2004: ODOT and Oregon State University successfully test on-board equipment that counts and communicates mileage so that gas stations can collect information and deduct the gas tax while adding the mileage-based charge.
  • Fall 2005: A pre-pilot using 20 vehicles tests all facets of program.
  • Spring 2006: Recruiting volunteers for the Pilot and equipping cars with on-board equipment begins in Portland.
  • Spring 2006 – 2007: The Road User Fee Pilot Program commences with 280 vehicles. Because the Pilot is a test, many policy options remain for decision-makers, such as charging a lower rate-per-mile for vehicles that achieve a certain fuel efficiency, for motorists that avoid rush hour zones, or for those participating in other environmentally-friendly situations.
  • Summer 2007: Final report and evaluation complete.

And yes, I have contacted my (state) congressman about some of these issues. To me this RFID/GPS stuff is over the top for tax collection right now. RFID has been proven to be hackable in about every domain it's entered.

I frankly can't see being tracked by big brother where ever I drive.

And yes I've heard about London's perimeter camera system which photographs your license plate and sends you a bill for entering the city.

All of this seems like a result of poor planning and avaricious corporations.

Imagine, for a moment, if oil had never existed. We would still have needed transportation pathways (roads) how would we have paid for these if EVs had taken over and dominated for the last century? Pay at the meter is my guess.

Now what happens if somebody like comes along and renders the meter, the pump, the cell much less lucrative?

How do we then tax for road usage? Well, weight of vehicle over miles driven paid at inspection time I'd guess there. Simple no?

As for regulating traffic and congestion, RFID/GPS tracking seems complex and more like a bandaid than a cure. What about making parking REALLY expensive? Gee that would be simple no? Holy crap! $50 buck a day to park my car? Sheesh I'm taking the (bus, train, bike, ferry, telecommute).

Dave Cline


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