Democrats still trying to push new mileage tax

posted at 9:30 am on March 25, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Dumb ideas never die in Washington, DC.  They just get stuck in committee.  Proving that once again is outgoing Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND), attempting to revive an idea for a new tax that was so intrusive and unwieldy that even Barack Obama had to disavow it two years ago when his Transportation Secretary started pushing the notion.  Conrad points to a new CBO study saying that taxing Americans on their car mileage will provide a windfall for the federal government:

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released a report that said taxing people based on how many miles they drive is a possible option for raising new revenues and that these taxes could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.

The report discussed the proposal in great detail, including the development of technology that would allow total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to be tracked, reported and taxed, as well as the pros and cons of mandating the installation of this technology in all vehicles.

“In the past, the efficiency costs of implementing a system of VMT charges — particularly the costs of users’ time for slowing and queuing at tollbooths — would clearly have outweighed the potential benefits from more efficient use of highway capacity,” CBO wrote. “Now, electronic metering and billing are making per-mile charges a practical option.”

The report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who held a hearing on transportation funding in early March. In that hearing, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama administration is hoping to spend $556 billion over the next six years, much of which would go to federal transportation improvement projects.

A “practical option” for whom, exactly?  Perhaps for the IRS, but certainly not for taxpayers.  One shudders to think what happens when the IRS gets your annual mileage wrong and a taxpayer disputes the record.  Where were you on the night of April 19th, Canarsie?  We show you drove 6.3 miles to Bada-Bing Strip Club in New Jersey. Even if exact destinations aren’t recorded (earlier suggestions were to use GPS devices), the taxpayer would get hit with a massive bill during the annual tax-preparation ritual with little or no chance to dispute the claims of the government.

Plus, let’s talk about equipment costs, both private and public.  This new tax system would require tracking equipment in every vehicle, which would mean retrofit costs for current vehicles and higher prices for new cars immediately.  What are the unemployed supposed to do — stop driving?  That should help when it comes to looking for work.

The government will either have to use GPS devices (that will track and record destination data) or install tollbooth passes every few miles on every road in America. The IRS will also have to set up an enforcement bureau to ensure that drivers don’t disable their tracking systems.  In California, this meant that every driver had to get biennial emission-control equipment inspections, an expensive waste of time and money for most drivers.  Will the IRS, which is just now branching out into the health-insurance inspection business, add a national DMV bureau as well?

Finally, do we really want to live in a country where the federal government virtually follows you everywhere you go?  Growing up in the Cold War, that’s what we were told the Soviet Union was like.  It will be the high-tech version of internal travel documents, or at the very least puts that power in the hands of the federal government.

This is the reason we use the gasoline tax for transportation costs.  It doesn’t require the government to track the movements of citizens on a moment-to-moment basis, and it doesn’t require any record-keeping for either the drivers or the government bureau.  It’s a point-of-sale transaction that proceeds transparently and relieves the taxpayer of a lump-sum burden at the end of the year.

The problem with the federal budget isn’t a lack of resources.  It’s a lack of will to use those resources wisely.  The government doesn’t need to track the movements of more than 300 million people to squeeze more revenue out of them — it needs to spend less of their money in the first place.

Update: California emissions certifications are/were biennial, not semiannual; I knew that but chose the wrong word.  Thanks to those who pointed out the error.


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Those GPS devices would get hack-arounds published on the internet almost instantly. I can think of two ways to block the signal just off the top of my head, and I’m not especially clever.

Mord on March 25, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Actually, I think I just found a new use for my daughter’s hand taser…

“I just don’t understand why so many of these devices are flawed. Every single one of them seems to stop working after a while…”

dominigan on March 25, 2011 at 11:16 AM

Welcome to West Texas where the nearest town can be over 90 miles away…. oh well, I didn’t want to go to town today anyway!

2nd Ammendment Mother on March 25, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Well, I was just reading about WWII. In Europe they didn’t have fuel to spare for vehicles, mostly, so people made their own out of wood. It’s called WoodGas. Not ideal, but it can still be done.

Some still do it. If you have a source of wood, no fuel bill! Of course it has its drawbacks, like needing to start a fire some minutes before you leave…. But hey, it works.

And there’s no tax on woodgas (yet…..)

Vanceone on March 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM

There will be a forced mass exodus to the cities.

capejasmine on March 25, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Most of the young people do leave after high school. Our largest employer is the nursing home.

qestout on March 25, 2011 at 11:28 AM

Kent Conrad, did someone drop you on your head as a child?

One of the main problems with the income tax (right after the fact that it discourages productivity) is that it encourages off the books income at all levels, for which people are willing to forsake worker protections and other benefits because of the onerous nature of the tax.

But if you think people go to extremes to dodge the income tax, think about what they will go through to dodge the driving tax, and think about the externalities such actions will impose on the law-abiding.

You want to tax driving, the answer is simple. Tax gasoline.

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Kent Conrad, did someone drop you on your head as a child?

One of the main problems with the income tax (right after the fact that it discourages productivity) is that it encourages off the books income at all levels, for which people are willing to forsake worker protections and other benefits because of the onerous nature of the tax.

But if you think people go to extremes to dodge the income tax, think about what they will go through to dodge the driving tax, and think about the externalities such actions will impose on the law-abiding.

You want to tax driving, the answer is simple. Tax gasoline.

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM

And they already do.

They put start taxing miles driven and you might as well just turn your back on this economy because it will be DONE.

Oink on March 25, 2011 at 11:37 AM

What about people that drive trucks for a living? It didn’t say anything about that in the article. My boyfriend drives an 18 wheeler for a living and the price of diesel is already bringing him to his knees.
And remember when gas goes up for the truck drivers, the price for food and other goods go up for the rest of us.
These people are insane.

amynorw on March 25, 2011 at 11:38 AM

Someone should do a revised version of that Police song, “Every Breath You Take”. Democrats are also looking to tax every wipe you take with a toilet paper tax.

Blue Collar Todd on March 25, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I’ll pay a dollar a mile to drive around with Kent Conrad and Ray LaHood tied to my rear bumper.

JEM on March 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM

It’s a stupid and intrusive concept.

However, at least it’s about the actual mileage and NOT what type of car one drives. Nothing ticks me off more than self righteous Prius owners that think they’re saving the planet because they’re too stupid to understand that the type of car they drive is only one part of the equation. And that a Prius is only marginally more fuel efficient than the average car.

blink on March 25, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Prius owners pay a hefty tab in order to wear that badge of moral superiority, but their cars aren’t really powered by electricity, they run on coal.

slickwillie2001 on March 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

With all due respect, that is a really dumb objection. – Count to 10

Dumb to think that the government, given the opportunity, would not monitor where we go? The technology would give them that information and the value for law enforcement to “wire tap” in effect, our movements would be too much to resist. They’d say that it requires a court order, of course, but there would be loopholes and bad actors within the government anyway. As to payment of the tax, the cost of a monthly billing process would be high, along with the bureaucracy needed to manage it. More likely than not, it would be left to the IRS and we’d have a new 1099-DMV issued by the mileage tax authority which we’d need to file with our tax return. Maybe we could opt to increase our payroll deductions on our W-2??? Sounds just peachy. No. The government has no right to track movement. Oh, and privatization would not happen once the Feds got their hooks into it. That’s a pipe dream. Finally, remember the Constitution is a document meant to LIMIT government. Do we really want MORE ways for the government to intrude? If it comes to pass that we all drive electric vehicles and ride bikes or walk, we can address the infrastructure costs then. That is a LONG time coming given then stellar sales of Chevy Volts.

BillyWilly on March 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

We already tax people based upon how much they drive. It’s called a gas tax. The more you drive, the more you pay.

lorien1973 on March 25, 2011 at 11:49 AM

So, you think that the same government that is going to track every citizen’s movements is going to privitize road construction and maintenance? They really have you hoodwinked.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 25, 2011 at 11:04 AM

It provides the option, dipstick. We have to force the issue, if we want it. Did you expect everything to be handed to you on a silver platter?

Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 11:55 AM

I’ll pay a dollar a mile to drive around with Kent Conrad and Ray LaHood tied to my rear bumper.

JEM on March 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Can we dangle empty beer and soda cans tied to their ankles with ropes? If so, I’m in!

Key West Reader on March 25, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Prius owners pay a hefty tab in order to wear that badge of moral superiority, but their cars aren’t really powered by electricity, they run on coal.

slickwillie2001 on March 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

And oddly enough, the owners/drivers of these vehicles are pasty white effete males with goatees. Seriously.

Key West Reader on March 25, 2011 at 11:59 AM

Yes, Blue Collar Todd, a toilet paper tax. This is a discriminatory tax that unfairly penalizes women. I call foul!

maryo on March 25, 2011 at 12:02 PM

We can always get a waiver, right? Right?

redzap on March 25, 2011 at 12:04 PM

One of the main problems with the income tax (right after the fact that it discourages productivity) is that it encourages off the books income at all levels, for which people are willing to forsake worker protections and other benefits because of the onerous nature of the tax.

But if you think people go to extremes to dodge the income tax, think about what they will go through to dodge the driving tax, and think about the externalities such actions will impose on the law-abiding.

You want to tax driving, the answer is simple. Tax gasoline.

JohnGalt23 on March 25, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Um, what? About the only people “forsaking worker protections” are the illegals, and that isn’t because of the income tax (though it is tangentially related to the minimum wage). The big income tax dodges are through deductions and international money movements, which are high income issues.
There is no real onerous demand involved with tracking miles driven on public roads outside of the tracking equipment itself, which is already in a lot of cars for convenience. Are you worried that you might actually have to drive the speed limit?
Also, the gasoline tax is like charging by the pound at a restaurant. The price for driving over a stretch of road is the same regardless of the ware your driving inflicts on it, or the traffic slowdowns you contribute to. Worse, it has to be collected and distributed all centrally, with little or no connection to where you drove. You have to pay the gas tax to drive down your own driveway.
Could you at least look at the opportunity to actually create a road market instead of the communist public road system we have now?

Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM

Just had another thought: ND is a farm state, mainly and historically. Question: Has anyone ever seen a hybrid tractor? How about a combine? Grain truck? Of course train locomotives are actually hybrids (diesel engines turn large generators that power electric motors at the wheels) so hybrid farm equipment isn’t outside the realm of possibility, but a plug-in electric tractor? Not likely. But speaking of tractors, I don’t know how many of you live in rural areas, but those who do have no doubt been stuck behind a tractor crawling up the two-lane road. Would tractors need GPSes too? All farm equipment? How about an Amish horse-n-buggy? This idea gets dumber and dumber the more I think about it.

BillyWilly on March 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

The govt. is already at the edge of how much interference Americans will take. Most of us prefer to be law-abiding, often paying through the nose instead of cheating. But the gov. can change that, if they push too hard.

jodetoad on March 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

I forsee a new black market for rolling back automobile odometers.

bugsy on March 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

BillyWilly on March 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Again with the tinfoil.

Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Tax politicians by the word

J_Crater on March 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Will Congress, the Senate and the SIEU be exempt from this tax?

Tommy_G on March 25, 2011 at 12:17 PM

More crap coming out of mouths of Democrats. Vote them out.

tx2654 on March 25, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Couple this with a per square toilet paper tax and I think they may be running out of ideas…

Or, are they just getting started?

Fallon on March 25, 2011 at 9:45 AM

The Roman Emperor Vespasian taxed urine. The French still call public urinals “vespasiennes.”

And yes, our idiot lords are just getting started.

itsacookbook on March 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM

It will never really sink in with Americans unless liberals get their way.

Liberalism is a tyrannical and evil life philosophy. It can only lead to enslavement.

scotash on March 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released a report that said taxing people based on how many miles they drive is a possible option for raising new revenues and that these taxes could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.

I’m sorry, isn’t that what the gas tax is for? I love how these jerks want to double tax us.

mizflame98 on March 25, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Heres a ‘crazy’ idea – STOP SPENDING SO MUCH MONEY.!

No money for roads? STOP BUILDING ROADS.

My local area is griping about not having $16million for a road project YET THEY FRONTED $80million for a SHOPPING CENTER.!?

Its even better, the NEW shopping center (actually 2 of them) are being built when there are 5-6 EMPTY Centers where the anchor stores went out of business nearby.

Can someone in finance, REALLY, really explain why its easier to build a new building on pastoral land when 200 yrds away is a perfectly good empty building?

My suspicion is that its easier to get a loan for new vs refurbished. And/or the current owners wont sell?. How can commercial property owners make money on huge vacant buildings?

orbitalair on March 25, 2011 at 12:49 PM

What about people that drive trucks for a living?

amynorw on March 25, 2011 at 11:38 AM

They can apply for a waiver, just like the unions got for ObamaCare.

belad on March 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM

It is a Flyover Tax.

Those in the “big liberal coastal” cities that have mass transit, don’t even own cars. So it does not effect their constituents the same way.

How about an elevator tax? $10,000 per floor.

barnone on March 25, 2011 at 1:04 PM

One shudders to think what happens when the IRS gets your annual mileage wrong and a taxpayer disputes the record. Where were you on the night of April 19th, Canarsie?

Comreade is more like it.

If the ACLU doesn’t figtht this, they should drop dead.

Schadenfreude on March 25, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Yes, Blue Collar Todd, a toilet paper tax. This is a discriminatory tax that unfairly penalizes women. I call foul!

maryo on March 25, 2011 at 12:02 PM

It would also hurt the middle class and poor people. Eating healthy is expensive so someone on a tight budget is not going to be able to afford to eat so healthy. Eating a lot of fast food could cause digestive issues and a need for extra toilet paper, thus this would be a tax that harms those who cannot afford it.

Blue Collar Todd on March 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Well, we all know that no one making under $250K ever drives a car…

Scrappy on March 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Welcome to West Texas where the nearest town can be over 90 miles away…. oh well, I didn’t want to go to town today anyway!

2nd Ammendment Mother on March 25, 2011 at 11:24
AM

Welcome to El Paso, population 649,121, on the tip of West Texas where the other side of town (from city limits to city limits) can be 25 miles or more, and the bus service is awful. Oh, and did I mention there is no light rail or subway? Tough luck.

Susanboo on March 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM

GPS can track speed too. We’ll all be getting speeding tickets in the mail!

csdeven on March 25, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Welcome to El Paso, population 649,121, on the tip of West Texas where the other side of town (from city limits to city limits) can be 25 miles or more, and the bus service is awful. Oh, and did I mention there is no light rail or subway? Tough luck.

Susanboo on March 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Actually, 31 miles from the furthest east development at Horizon City to the furthest west at Canutillo, since El Paso is squished by Juarez on the south and the Franklin Mountains and Fort Bliss on the north. I had to drive it a week ago coming in from Midland-Odessa — I-10 at rush hour is a misery, but there’s no other option except for the border loop that dumps you off pretty much in the BNSF train yard downtown if you’re headed west (On the way back, I just decided to wait the out PM rush and get a burger at Five Guys near Sunland Park until the backup went away).

The only plus is the 80 mph speed limit on I-10/20 once you get out of El Paso County. But but that’s not going to offset the idea of getting taxed on a 580-mile day trip.

jon1979 on March 25, 2011 at 1:32 PM

We need a character tax for legislators in DC. Charge them by the syllable, with stiff overage penalties.

Christien on March 25, 2011 at 1:35 PM

GPS can track speed too. We’ll all be getting speeding tickets in the mail!

csdeven on March 25, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Which would mean that the speed limit would actually mean something for once.
Just imagine, people actually obeying the law.

Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Tax politicians by the word

J_Crater on March 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM

Beat me to it!

Christien on March 25, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Just a thought here…..

In the cities yes…some of rail, most have buses, and cabs and other means of public transportation. Well won’t these entities be taxed the same way? Im betting YES!

Watch for fares, and fees to skyrocket with something like this.

Country or city, with or without, one way or the other, we’d all be paying for this, til this country became nothing more then a giant scrap yard.

capejasmine on March 25, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Country or city, with or without, one way or the other, we’d all be paying for this, til this country became nothing more then a giant scrap yard.

capejasmine on March 25, 2011 at 1:45 PM

Done correctly, this could greatly benefit rural areas, actually. Right now, many rural areas pay gas taxes for driving on roads that are not maintained by those taxes (I grew up on one such). If the tax only charges you for driving on federal, state, or county maintained roads, then you have more money to contribute to your locally maintained roads. Or, even better, if the taxes/tolls you pay go directly to the people that maintain the road you are driving on.
Come on people, think!

Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Well you might be right, but first and foremost, I don’t believe for a second this is about taxes. They want control over your movements. Where you go, how long you stay, etc…

Secondly, I don’t for a moment think any of this money will go towards anything good for anyone. It’s meant for them to spend on what they want, where they want. Much like they do right now. No one will benefit but those in Washington, and their cronies.

capejasmine on March 25, 2011 at 1:55 PM

As I keep saying: we have a mileage tax on both the federal and state level: it’s called a mileage tax. We also pay for car registration, excise tax, sales tax on new and used vehicles, and tolls on interstate highways.

Now, all sin taxes are subject to the same problem: people reduce the bad behaviour (here, driving fuel-inefficient cars) and revenues go down. Rather than taxing mileage – hey, let’s make it hard for farmers to ship us fresh fruit and all eat Doritos instead! – let’s figure out how much roads cost, estimate the amount of gas Americans will use in the next year, divide one by the other, and get the gas tax for the next year.

But that doesn’t let the government dictate our lives to us, and makes actual sense, so we can’t have that.

Roxeanne de Luca on March 25, 2011 at 2:03 PM

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the Obama administration is hoping to spend $556 billion over the next six years, much of which would go to federal transportation improvement projects.

Didn’t the stimulus already do that??

Roxeanne de Luca on March 25, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Too bad they didn’t have this back in 1977. Maybe then we would know why Barry was getting a Connecticut Social Security number.

pain train on March 25, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Don’t they think the price of gas will cut down on usage? It does with the working stiff. So we need to add a tax to the gas tax…. that will get the economy going just in time for the summer tourists season.

wi farmgirl on March 25, 2011 at 2:12 PM

A better idea than new taxes would be new cuts. The golden goose is dead and the Dems are beating a dead goose to get just one more tax out of it. They just don’t get it do they.

mixplix on March 25, 2011 at 2:15 PM

And when the eco-watermelon hybrid drivers figure out that they are paying exactly the same per mile tax as someone driving a Cadillac Escalade?

Undoubtedly our overlords will then create a huge new cabinet level bureaucracy to determine the tax per mile for every vehicle and determine how many miles we drove and in what vehicle so they can collect massive new taxes.

No Thanks!

RJL on March 25, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Please help me understand…I thought this is why the Clinton admistration imposed a 5 cents per gallon gas tax. Now depending on which state or county you live in your tax burden on gas is much higher. Now the Fed rate is higher and like I said depending on where you live you could have a state tax per gallon of gas and I believe there are even cities or counties that have a per gallon gas tax. all to help pay for the road structure and to maintain bridges (and we all now how that failed in one state). If I remember correctly, the argument was made that the revenue generated could not be guaranteed to roads but only to a general fund for the government to spend how they see fit. This is why there is a TEA Party. Taxing Alcohol; cigerettes; Gas; Trans-Fats; Sugar; CO2. They want to tax toilet paper; per-mile driven; the internet, and anything else they think of.

lwssdd on March 25, 2011 at 2:22 PM

All the feds have to do is hold any fed $$s hostage unless the state changes their annual veh. registration so that you have to report your mileage every year.

Then the feds could go full on Stalin and implement different rates for different vehicles (e.g. SUV mileage is charged at twice the rate of a hybrid.)

rockhead on March 25, 2011 at 2:41 PM

They even suggested using gas stations to assess and collect the taxes, and they don’t even know how much it’ll cost to retrofit every vehicle on the road. Good grief, is there nothing the Dems won’t tax?

http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-spokane/cbo-suggests-taxing-mileage-to-raise-federal-revenue

jdawg on March 25, 2011 at 2:47 PM

rockhead on March 25, 2011 at 2:41 PM

As a car lover, I find democrats, more specifically liberals, disgusting. It’s like they are intentionally trying to pi$$ me off :/

SG1_Conservative on March 25, 2011 at 2:51 PM

Let’s see if I can communicate this novel concept in a manner that can be clearly understood:

QUIT EFFING SPENDING!!!!!!!!!!!

nico on March 25, 2011 at 2:54 PM

Stupid question: If vehicles stop using gas, how are we going to fund highway maintenance?

btw – this is another reason why we should sell/privatize our highways. While the owner would track your mileage, at least it’s not the government.

rock the casbah on March 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Privatizing roads…hmmmm. Have any of you advocates really thought that through? A private market assumes competition is in place. Right now, between Souix Falls and Rapid City, SD there is ONE viable road to transport goods – I-90. How do you “privatize” access to that one option? Who is going to create competition to the owner of I-90? Would they build an alternate route? Would the owners of all the back roads offer discounts on the tolls? Would truckers really want to take those back roads through every little small town between the two cities? Or would they be forced by circumstances into using the one viable option (for the sake of time and fuel costs) onto the one road? Wouldn’t that create a monopoly in practice? Don’t think SD counts, try Texas. I-35 is the main trade route through Texas on up to Canada. Who would own and operate it and how would we foster competition to keep prices low? That’s the free market, right? They created Toll-130 to go around Austin with the supposed reasoning of relieving congestion on I-35. 130 is privately managed. Tolls are high and few trucks use it. It didn’t change much of anything on I-35.

Bottom line, roads are very expensive to build. The barriers to entry for competing companies would be prohibitive. Public subsidizing would be necessary to entice anyone into the market. Environmental impact studies would cost vast amounts (unless we can ditch the EPA). Buying right-of-way would be expensive and take a long time since eminent domain really can’t be brought into play (unless we go all Kelo on them). So what venture capitalist in his or her right mind would go into the “road business?” Oh wait, maybe we could build high-speed rail instead! /s

BTW, I don’t wear tinfoil, it irritates my ears.

BillyWilly on March 25, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Well, I was just reading about WWII. In Europe they didn’t have fuel to spare for vehicles, mostly, so people made their own out of wood. It’s called WoodGas. Not ideal, but it can still be done.

Some still do it. If you have a source of wood, no fuel bill! Of course it has its drawbacks, like needing to start a fire some minutes before you leave…. But hey, it works.

And there’s no tax on woodgas (yet…..)

Vanceone on March 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Conjures up images of revenuers going after moonshine stills in the woods.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 25, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Time to get that 50 caliber installation done on my airplane.

Jimmy Doolittle on March 25, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Here’s a quote from the article (emphasis mine)

Any given driver’s highway use also imposes costs on other users, on nearby nonusers, on the environment, and on the economy in the form of congestion, risk of accidents, noise, emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants that affect local air quality, and dependence on foreign oil

This will help offset the cost of the risk of accidents? How much does the risk of an accident cost? Sure, accidents cost money, but I somehow doubt that the government is offering to foot the repair bill.

Congestion is a cost, but it is borne by the drivers. How does giving more money to the government reimburse drivers stuck in traffic? Heck, all of the expenses listed are borne by the citizens, not the government. What are we paying them for? *(I ask that a lot these days)

dcman98 on March 25, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Oh,goody, we can all move to town and use mass transit. Now they can build a train to nowhere with all those new tax dollars. Actually I see a cottage industry for those able to turn the thing on and off. Leave it on just enough to pay something but turn it off for vacations.

Kissmygrits on March 25, 2011 at 10:19 PM

Well Conrad had better plan on retiring because North Dakota being a rather sparse state, demands North Dakota citizens to drive a lot of miles.

So, wow, we get to pay gas taxes and them a mileage tax as well and the Feds get to track your every move as a bonus.

My state actually has a wheelage tax – an annual tax per axle per vehicle.

Morons.

Dr. Bob on March 25, 2011 at 10:31 PM

The Gov wants to track our every move and mile ?
I think Lincoln had something to say about that.

We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.
Abraham Lincoln

ColdWarrior57 on March 25, 2011 at 11:59 PM

My bottom line: I will start workibng to take myself off the grid on my new property.

The Democrats bottom line: They will soon want an “off the grid tax” imposed on those that unpatriotically stop using government supplied services.

hawkdriver on March 26, 2011 at 8:00 AM

I’m not quite sure why Conrad thinks this will help him get elected again in ND.
Here in ND, we drive a LOT.
Bcs we have to.
Everything is far away.
If I need to go grocery shopping, I could do it 6 miles away & pay up to 40% more for goods, or I can drive the 100 miles to Bismarck or 70 miles to Dickinson, all one way, to get the stuff I need.
And the bus is not an option for us out here!
So here we have a rural state guy looking into taxing people for mileage driven?
Plus there are a LOT of elderly people out here that drive a lot to get to their Dr appointments in Bis or Fargo.
So we’re going to penalize rural residents?
WTF is wrong with you Conrad you effing bonehead?!
I will be doing my part to get rid of this guy once & for all.

Badger40 on March 27, 2011 at 12:32 PM

This stuff is suggested so when they increase the gas tax about 50 cents a gallon we’ll all be relieved and happy to have avoided this incredible intrusion.
marybel on March 25, 2011 at 10:16 AM

This is what the EPA does. Comes out with notions of new ways to regulate & tax. Scares the hell out of people & then they back off & say whoah we were just kidding!
Then they come up with a ‘less’ onerous rule that doesn’t get as much press & implement that.

The train tracks were removed from the entire county many years ago. The railroad grades are now snowmobile/4 wheeler trails.
I have a barn, maybe it’s time to buy a horse.
qestout on March 25, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Hubby & I have actually looked at getting a team to feed cows with. Problem is, we don’t have the time it takes to do that. I teach school & he drives our semi commercially.
The old way of doing things requires lots of TIME.

But speaking of tractors, I don’t know how many of you live in rural areas, but those who do have no doubt been stuck behind a tractor crawling up the two-lane road. Would tractors need GPSes too? All farm equipment? How about an Amish horse-n-buggy? This idea gets dumber and dumber the more I think about it.
BillyWilly on March 25, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Most modern tractors use GPS systems for improved planting.
The CAFE standards are also applying to ALL vehicles now. Tractors, combines, etc. are ALL under CAFE standards now. Older off road/farm vehicles are grandfathered in.
This will obviously make that equipment artificially more valuable. And tractors cost too much in the 1st place.

Done correctly, this could greatly benefit rural areas, actually. Right now, many rural areas pay gas taxes for driving on roads that are not maintained by those taxes (I grew up on one such). If the tax only charges you for driving on federal, state, or county maintained roads, then you have more money to contribute to your locally maintained roads. Or, even better, if the taxes/tolls you pay go directly to the people that maintain the road you are driving on.
Come on people, think!
Count to 10 on March 25, 2011 at 1:52 PM

In fantasyworld, you would be correct.
But of course, this would never be the case bcs the feds already cannot do their job, why give them another to screw up?
Here in ND we have terrible road problems bcs of the oil fields with heavy equipment tearing up our roads.
However, overloaded old-time grain trucks are just as responsible for tearing up rural roads.
Modern semis are easier on rural roads, but they get the $hit taxed out of them versus the overloaded arm grain truck.
And you never see DOT pulling those guys over to weigh them.
I know abt road problems bcs the farm to market roads in ND is a disgusting travesty.
Farmers cannot get their product to market bcs of load restrictions etc bcs of limited roads.
I won’t even talk abt the monopoly trains have. But imagine you’re a grain elevator & you booked your trains a year in advance & the trains never show up. And of course, there is no penalty to the RR.
It is the STATE & the individual counties that are not doing their job in getting the $$ to the counties in need of road work.
The county I live in has good roads.
The county next to me does a pi$$ poor job of managing their resources & has really crappy roads.
The ND legislature is working on making the oil $$ more equitable to the counties more heavily impacted by the oil boom.
And that is how it should be.
Let the states fix their own problems.
The feds have NO business in any of this.

Badger40 on March 27, 2011 at 1:04 PM

So I’ve worked through this bad economy and kept my house, even though it has lost half its value, and I’m paying for all the deadbeat losers and now they want to tax my commute. Shoot, I’ll just quit and join the deadbeat losers.

kmarie on March 27, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Here in Alaska I sometimes drive 300 miles one way to kill whatever pest I’m called upon to eliminate…Bedbugs, Roaches etc…
I drive a MINIMUM of 150 miles in order to work every day…

Army Brat on March 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM

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