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Old 01-10-2013, 12:57 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default GAO Tells Congress To Choose Between A Federal Tax On Miles Driven Or Raise Gas Taxes




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Washington The government's auditor says Congress should institute a pilot program to test raising money for road repairs through a tax on vehicle miles traveled.

Congress and the Obama administration have struggled to find new revenue to pay for maintaining the nation's roads, as gas tax revenue fails to keep up with repairs.

Over the coming decade, the federal government faces a $110 billion shortfall for road repairs without new revenue, something that will get worse as government fuel efficiency mandates rise and reduce fuel use.
The Government Accountability Office thinks a mileage-based user fee known as a "VMT" should be reviewed by Congress.

"Without a federal pilot program to evaluate options to more accurately charge commercial trucks and electric vehicles for their road use and the costs and benefits of such systems, Congress lacks critical information to assess whether mileage fees for these vehicles could be a viable and cost-effective tool to help address the nation's surface transportation funding challenges," the GAO said.

Commercial truck user fee systems in Germany and New Zealand have raised significant taxes and led to reduced road damage and emissions with fewer privacy concerns, the GAO found.

The big issue in the U.S. is that as Americans buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, the federal Highway Trust Fund is running out of money. Congress hasn't hiked the federal gas tax since 1993.

Congress spent $34 billion to cover shortfalls in the trust fund from 2008-10 and has approved $18.8 billion for 2013 and 2014.

From 1956 until 1993, Congress regularly increased gas taxes from an initial 3 cents a gallon to the current 18.4 cents. Adjusted for inflation, the gas tax today is just 11.3 cents in 1993 dollars. Had the gas tax been adjusted for inflation, it would be 29 cents a gallon today.

The Congressional Budget Office in August estimated that to meet future highway needs between 2012 and 2022, the trust fund would need another $110 billion in funding.

The GAO says Congress could either hike gas taxes to 31.6 cents to 46.6 cents a gallon to fix the roads, or impose a 0.9 cent to 2.2 cent per mile tax on all travel.

The GAO says to address shortfalls in road funding through a mileage tax, drivers of passenger vehicles with average fuel efficiency would pay $108 to $248 per year in mileage fees, compared to the $96 these drivers currently pay in U.S. gas tax.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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way overdue.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:15 PM   #3
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Eh, either way.
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Old 01-10-2013, 01:37 PM   #4
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Although I like the idea of tax per mile, do we have the infrastructure to track this? It seems like raising the gas tax achieves the similar results, and doesn't require money spent on tracking etc. I can only imagine disputes of whether one did travel the X miles or not.
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:34 PM   #5
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Mileage tax! YES! If it costs the same tax to drive a prius as it does to drive a Hummer, then the incentive to buy fuel efficient cars diminishes! GENIUS!
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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So we force people to buy fuel efficient cars and give tax money away to promote it.

Then the imporoved fuel economy makes for a sharp decline in road tax funds, so we need more taxes to cover that.

We could just mandate lower MPG requirements and generate far more tax money, cars would get cheaper, and taxes could be lowered.

HAHAAHAHAHA

It is so simple

seriously though, you would have to exempt 18 wheelers, as they are the backbone of the entire country. They are the only reason we have stores full of stuff to eat and consume.

taxing them per mile is just a way to make everything cost a CRAP load more.

These are the consequences of government meddling, yet again, they have unintended consequences.

How about mandates to make cars smaller and lighter...It would make the roads last longer.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
So we force people to buy fuel efficient cars and give tax money away to promote it.

Then the imporoved fuel economy makes for a sharp decline in road tax funds, so we need more taxes to cover that.

We could just mandate lower MPG requirements and generate far more tax money, cars would get cheaper, and taxes could be lowered.

HAHAAHAHAHA

It is so simple

seriously though, you would have to exempt 18 wheelers, as they are the backbone of the entire country. They are the only reason we have stores full of stuff to eat and consume.

taxing them per mile is just a way to make everything cost a CRAP load more.

These are the consequences of government meddling, yet again, they have unintended consequences.

How about mandates to make cars smaller and lighter...It would make the roads last longer.
just increase the gas tax. And not the diesel tax.

mileage tax is silly, unless you do it based on annual odometer inspections.
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Old 01-10-2013, 03:37 PM   #8
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It would have to be an equation of sorts..

Mileage x GVW x TAX RATE = $$$$ tax

Or something...that would promote lighter vehicles in a way.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Why is it that all the wrong stuff goes away from service based rates... Internet (see data caps on phone plans) and now roads? Will we eventually have everything based on usage like this?

Lets be real. What this will ultimately do is result in the same taxes currently for people who drive like <5000 miles a year and raise it for anyone over that, basically making road trips even MORE uncompetitive with flying due to the increased rate of vehicle repairs, your time, and now an increased cost for usage.

And yes scrappy, 100% agree that govt meddling once again sucks it up. People like mr. NY, NY up at the top will love the govt forcing people to fit into their idea of a perfect little bubble world until they start to disagree with the shape of that bubble and are forced to be part of it.

I hate that people can't stand that if they don't have the power to do something on their own and if no one who can wants to help them, then whatever it is they want done just shouldn't happen. It's like there's no such thing as having a disagreement and people having to deal with it never getting resolved. SOMEONE has to exercise their power to force a resolution.

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Old 01-10-2013, 05:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
It would have to be an equation of sorts..

Mileage x GVW x TAX RATE = $$$$ tax

Or something...that would promote lighter vehicles in a way.
Raising the gas tax itself is much simpler.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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I really wish hot air balloons were a viable mode of transportation for me. I could fill it up with all the hot air from Washington and thus float over all the bull **** the politicians fling my way.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:09 PM   #12
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way overdue.
Agreed.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
Raising the gas tax itself is much simpler.
:lightbulb:

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Indocti Discant View Post
just increase the gas tax. And not the diesel tax.
We'd just see an onslaught of diesels in the US and a corresponding decrease in tax revenue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indocti Discant View Post
mileage tax is silly, unless you do it based on annual odometer inspections.
Mileage could be recorded at state inspection timing. Of course, that would mean that more and more people wouldn't get their state inspections.

I'm not sure how I feel about an increase in the gas tax. What I spend in fuel is a very low portion of my yearly income, so it really wouldn't impact me much at all. I also have a very short commute to work. I'd like to see some sort of data showing commute distance to income. My gut feeling is that the working poor are probably more likely to commute a long distance. The working poor is also the least able to change their situation to reduce their fuel usage (move closer to work, buy a more fuel efficient car, etc.)

Last edited by quentinberg007; 01-10-2013 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #15
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I wish there was a like button so I could like Quentin's post.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:32 PM   #16
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The 6th word in the article was "should" indicating that this is a suggestion and not an order as the headline suggests.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:34 PM   #17
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Yeah, there is never going to be a brilliant solution coming from anywhere in Washington DC. They think too short term and are usually interested in how policies will get them reelected..

Look for solutions elsewhere.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by quentinberg007 View Post
My gut feeling is that the working poor are probably more likely to commute a long distance. The working poor is also the least able to change their situation to reduce their fuel usage (move closer to work, buy a more fuel efficient car, etc.)
What happens if you live in a city with a lot of uncontrolled/unplanned growth that has separated the good jobs and good living? In ABQ, you pretty much have to live north side to get good living and get away from all the hispanic gang bangers, but all the good corporate jobs are plopped right in the middle of their ****. So in turn, I have a ~15mi/45 minute commute daily.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:35 PM   #19
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I dont like these 2 choices.It cuts into my cost of living. The gov cant think up any other ways to comeup with the money? How about we let companies sponsor some of the roads like what texas did with highway 130? Let them paint ads on the roads. I dont care as long as it pays the bill.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:50 PM   #20
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If only they used all the funds collected for roads on the roads now. They could start there.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:03 PM   #21
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Agree on gas tax, or base mileage rates on displacement and/or gvwr. Our gas is cheap and our roads infrastructure is a mess. I recall reading a report about some absurd percentage of our bridges in need of replacement or repair.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:26 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
Raising the gas tax itself is much simpler.
But it's so politically unpopular. Lets tax commercial vehicles only, then people will get mad at greedy corporations for raising prices of goods. Politicians re-elected for fighting to keep gas prices absurdly low

This is how America works.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:59 PM   #23
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As a commuter, **** this legislation. It's totally unfair. I travel all highway and rack up mileage much faster. This is total bull****!!!
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Old 01-11-2013, 06:14 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
So we force people to buy fuel efficient cars and give tax money away to promote it.

Then the imporoved fuel economy makes for a sharp decline in road tax funds, so we need more taxes to cover that.

We could just mandate lower MPG requirements and generate far more tax money, cars would get cheaper, and taxes could be lowered.

HAHAAHAHAHA

It is so simple
We often have a fleet that exceeds the MPG requirements of CAFE b/c consumers don't want to pay for expensive gas. So that argument doesn't fly.
Quote:
seriously though, you would have to exempt 18 wheelers, as they are the backbone of the entire country. They are the only reason we have stores full of stuff to eat and consume.

taxing them per mile is just a way to make everything cost a CRAP load more.

These are the consequences of government meddling, yet again, they have unintended consequences.
You do realize that exempting 18 wheelers who do by far more damage is subsidizing 18 wheelers by passenger vehicles instead of charging them for the damage they do. Why in the world do you want the government meddling and making a transfer payment from passenger vehicle drivers to freight companies?

Answer is simple. Index the fuel tax to inflation so we don't have this silly fight every few years or have to raid social security funds to pay for road maintenance.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:17 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by sn13 View Post
Mileage tax! YES! If it costs the same tax to drive a prius as it does to drive a Hummer, then the incentive to buy fuel efficient cars diminishes! GENIUS!
umm, the gas tax is intended to be a funding mechanism for maintenance of the nations roadways.....not a socially green whipping stick.......

The penalty for driving a gas hog still exists in your huge weekly gas bill of which a small portion is actually tax.
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