New York Times article about the different test studies being conducted as a precursor to the introduction of a CO2 or mileage tax admits that cars will contain tracking devices that will record where motorists have been.
Obama’s transportation secretary Ray LaHood recently caused controversy when he let slip that the administration was considering a “vehicles miles traveled” tax to replace the federal fuel tax.
As the New York Times reported in its Sunday edition, a number of different large scale beta-testing programs are currently underway to trial that exact scheme.
The largest is the $16.5 million federal Road User Study, under which thousands of volunteers in Austin, Tex.; Baltimore; Boise, Idaho; Raleigh and Durham, N.C.; San Diego; and the Quad Cities region of Iowa are driving cars equipped with tracking devices that catalogue their every movement.
For such a program to achieve its objective of taxing people by the mile, one would think that the only information the tracking device would need to measure is how many miles the vehicle has traveled. However, the true purpose of the technology is revealed when we learn that the system will also “record where motorists have been”.
Jon Kuhl, principal investigator for the Road User Study, concedes that “invasion of privacy” will be an issue, but the article does not mention how this will be overcome.
“You’d have to have a record where the car is at all times, and that certainly would frighten America,” said Mike Moffatt, an economist at the Ivy School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Efforts to sell the mileage tax proposal as a replacement for gas tax are likely to increase as the proposal nears introduction, but as is the case in North Carolina, where legislators are considering introducing a fee of one-quarter of a cent per mile, the charge will be in addition to tax per gallon of gas, not as a replacement for it.
The Times article notes that Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon are also piloting similar schemes.
An increase on the roads of fuel-efficient vehicles and cars run on electricity is causing panic amongst tax-hungry authorities, who are seeking new ways to snag people who are managing to pay far less gas tax.
Indeed, the Times article quotes Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, who expressed her desire to pursue such individuals.
“Those people are not paying as much, and yet they’re still on the road and still causing congestion and impacting pavement. How do I get at those people?” she stated.
“How do I get at those people?” That phrase perfectly underscores the nature of this entire program - a fresh government assault on the personal privacy and the wallet of the beleaguered American taxpayer that will achieve nothing aside driving more people into near-poverty while ensuring their every move is tracked and catalogued by big brother.
The Times article concludes that the mileage tax is “inevitable” and that it will begin by all automakers installing the tracking devices in new cars as standard. What do they know that we don't?