The Southern California Association of Governments recently passed a resolution asking Congress to replace the federal gasoline tax — which is 18.5 cents a gallon and hasn’t been raised in more than 20 years — with a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax by 2025 under the Regional Transportation Plan. The six counties under SCAG want to see Southern California become a pilot for the VMT program.
However, in Oregon a similar bill has passed limiting the VMT program to 5,000 volunteer drivers of high-efficiency vehicles.
This particular California VMT program would tax drivers 5 cents per mile. A device would be installed in every vehicle tomeasure drivers by their cars’ odometer readings and give out a bill every month or year.
The watchful eye of Big Brother is at it again, making its way into cars in Southern California. As if cell phone tapping and metadata collecting weren’t already enough for the NSA and the government.
According to the Metro website, vehicle miles would be measured by an on-board vehicle device that would capture the distance driven by a vehicle through GPS or other technology and relate that to a method of charging, which could range from manual cash payment to automatic deduction for a prepaid customer account.
If this program were to be implemented, it would bring in roughly $110.3 billion in tax revenue in just one year, whereas the Highway Trust Fund contains less than a fourth of that amount currently.
Carrie Bowen, director of Caltrans District 7, which includes Los Angeles and Ventura counties, told SGV Tribune that the money earned through the gas tax will not be enough to maintain roads or earthquake-proof bridges and freeway overpasses.
So just to reiterate, the excise tax we all pay now is 18.5 cents per gallon. My car, for example, is a little more than 18 gallons bone dry. At $4.22 per gallon, I only pay about 78 cents every week in tax currently. Now if it were switched over to this new VMT program, I would be paying roughly $1.54 in tax a day during the school year.
That’s taking into consideration that I live 13 miles away from PCC along with going to work and the gym. Don’t take my arithmetic too seriously—I’m only a Communication major and haven’t taken math in about three years—but I’m confident that’s in the ballpark.
Yes, I want freeways that won’t collapse beneath me or on me, but the last thing I want as a Southern Californian driver is to pay tax per mile. Maybe it’s time to either raise the gas tax or take money from someone else’s pocket.