Brace Yourself: The Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax Is Coming

Four hundred and fifty drivers in the Research Triangle region will be recruited next year to road test a satellite technology system that might be used one day to replace the gas tax with a tax on every mile we drive, reports the News & Observer.

North Carolina is one of six states participating in a national study conducted by the University of Iowa Public Policy Center to see if Americans will buy into the idea of paying for roads by the mile, instead of by the gallon.

“In the future, all of your roads are going to be funded by tolling or vehicle mile taxes,” said Matthew B. Click, a Florida state turnpike official. “Roads are a transportation utility. They are no different from water or sewer or anything else.”

Autos will be equipped with GPS and computer hardware to track the number of miles they drive and which government jurisdiction they drive through. In all likelihood, we’ll hear objections from civil libertarians worried that Big Brother will be able to track their every movement. It is all but certain that we’ll hear from those opposed to paying for the miles they drive, insisting that some mythical “other” should pay instead. But I agree with Click: Economic logic dictates that tolls and vehicle-mile taxes are the future of transportation finance.

(Hat tip: Larry Gross.)


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42 responses to “Brace Yourself: The Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax Is Coming”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    ….”They are no different from water or sewer or anything else.”

    Gee.. what a concept! there’s actually some weirdo in this blog saying the same thing… πŸ™‚

    I’m rethinking my opinion that this technology might be too complicated to implement.

    One of my other hobbies is GPS.. I only have 5 units so far.. πŸ™‚

    The GPS world is moving at light-speed these days….as it’s being integrated with computers and communication infrastructure – even WiFi.

    The public just might be enticed into agreeing to have a unit in their car if that unit was also usable for their own personal navigation AND it would give them real-time traffic data and actually enable them to find the fastest path even during heavy congestion periods AND of course, HOT lane status… etc…

    The technology also exists for the unit to determine when the vehicles goes out of state…. or even our of jurisdiction…

    they could be offered on a voluntary basis with those who don’t want it.. defaulting to regular gas tax.

    Then, of course, what might happen.. is that the gas tax would go up… and folks would decide if it would be cheaper to to then switch to pay by the mile…

    The primary obstacle (identified in the Oregon test) will be how to initially obtain AND maintain a valid odometer reading and VIN from the car.

    Not know by many people is that most modern cars have onboard that more than likely have this data in electronic form already.

    If not.. adding firmware to the existing computing would not be that difficult…

    Some of the car computers data is plug-accessible but it’s only a matter of time that they will support bluetooth wireless (if not already).

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    When will we start paying peak load fees for sewage?

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Anonymous 10:22, No peak loads for sewage… But ideally the sewage/storm water fee should be variable, depending upon the volume of impervious surface on your property.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Why should that be, if I have runoff controls installed?

    Runoff from pervious surfaces gets a free ride?

  5. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Ideally, you’d pay less if you’d installed run-off controls. Of course, the cost of monitoring and updating such a system — accounting for every roof, paved driveway, patio, storm water drainage buffers, riparian buffers, etc. becomes impractical.

  6. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    funny how these threads spread out from the original subject… must be an underlying theme here… so I’ll play since others diverted first…

    The “how about the guy before me” factor – another way of saying -“if the guys ahead of me did not have to do it why do I have to do it”.

    in other words – mistakes of the past cannot be corrected….

    and when it comes to impervious surfaces – the ones already done without adequate controls are a big part of the Chesapeake Bay challenge.

    New development requires enough land on the parcel to hold a storm pond as a condition of approval.
    (actually, the pond is not required per se – but an approved structure that limits the runoff per specs).

    But how do you do that with say an older 7-11 that does not have an available spot for backfitting a runoff pond?

    The answer is the creation of storm water authorities (just like we have water/sewer authorities) and/or similar to the state fund for removing older buried fuel tanks.

    Everybody will pay into it and then the money will be available for backfitting facilities perhaps on a larger scale than per site.

    New development will have to pay it’s own way probably.

    I’d be in favor of new development that builds the specified control facilities not have to pay “twice” to also be taxed for the storm water authority.

    If newer regulations come along, then they’d have to join.. also.

    These facilities are exactly the argument about whether we:

    1. – essentially subsidize development by allowing the environment absorb the pollution until the pollution is so bad that we have to raise taxes for the clean-up – after the fact – i.e. the Chesapeake Bay clean-up quandary.

    OR

    2. REQUIRE environmental widgets to prevent the pollution from leaving the property in the first place.

    We’re learning the hard way that pollution clean-up is much more expensive to clean up that preventing it in the first place but it still don’t please the folks who have to pay for it.

    But we do win twice!

    1. – we end up NOT having to do post pollution cleanup

    2. – we create jobs building environmental widgets

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    While it seems straightforward that the large expansion of the renewables and efficiency sectors should increase their employment, its not at all clear whether this creates new jobs or simply displaces labor from other sectors. (Amusingly, accountants and bookkeepers are by far the largest component of jobs estimated to be created from renewables estimates.)

    Jobs aren’t benefits of government policies unless there is some sort of failure in the labor markets.

    http://www.env-econ.net/2007/11/common.html

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    “You want to create jobs? Just ban all modern farming equipment and force everyone to grow their own food. Rather than 5 people being able to grow the food for every 100, it will take 90. This would create millions of jobs, but I don’t see many voters getting behind this one. “

    http://commontragedies.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/the-make-work-bias-meets-energy-policy/#more-143

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    CBF is now beginning to propose backfitting previous development with runoff controls, but even they admit it will be enormously expensive.

    Now, what was that about developemt patterns being directed to where infrastructure exists?

    RH

  10. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Now, what was that about developemt patterns being directed to where infrastructure exists?

    infill/redevelopment would be treated as new development and have to conform to the new standards…

  11. Danny L. Newton Avatar
    Danny L. Newton

    Even if we gain a new technology that effectively vacuums money from our wallets, the transportation system suffers from a lack of government responsibility to the taxpayers. The decades old system of building roads with property taxes was replaced with a gas tax but there never was a moral and ethical foundation under the principles of redistribution of that money and mobility except: From each according to his ability , to each according to his “need.” (political need?) Connecting highway use to the transportation tax burden is a way to repair the system but there are still plans to integrate the old redistribution failures into the newer systems.
    For instance, cities have always paid more for transportation than the rural country cousins because they use a mile of highway more effectively and receive a lower per capita return on their tax dollar. The GPS mechanisms for controlling usage will again require city dwellers to pay more than their country cousins because it will intensify costs at congested areas. Toll roads are seen as cash cows that can carry the weaker, sometimes over built and less traveled rural roads by redistribution.

    Whenever someone can get a benefit and communize the costs, there is no compelling economic force to prevent over use. Ironically, it is not the cities that are over using the system. Instead the fault lies with the country cousins who are allowed to have a share of the distribution from transportation taxes that is out of proportion to the benefit. In most states this is locked into law by local transportation funding sharing rules based on population and land area. Metropolitan Planning Organizations further exaggerate the effect because they are constant custodians of ineffective transportation policies that have little or no relationship to performance.
    No city can heal itself by returning to the day when transportation problems can be handled with local property, sales or even income tax money. The system requires a national and inter modal response well beyond the boundaries of a municipality. There must be some redistribution and there must be prioritization based on transportation need and economic efficiency, not political need. Economic development considerations are not required to create good transportation policy since good transportation decisions, automatically creates the maximum economic development potential. Redistribution schemes based on alleged need work well only when resources are plentiful. That not being the case, I suggest that a utilitarian system be instigated that seeks to provide the greatest good for the greatest number.

  12. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …” At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While it seems straightforward that the large expansion of the renewables and efficiency sectors “

    we’re back to referencing OTHER BLOGS as if they are authoritative sources…

    there is NO failure of the labor market with respect to the manufacturer of products and services.

    how exactly does the creation of a job making environmental widgets take another job away?

    are you saying that by having airbags in cars that we’re taking jobs away from doctors and hospitals?

    is that what is being asserted?

    so… a job making an environmental widget…that controls runoff pollution is taking away the job that was created by cleaning up the pollution after it got lose in the environment?

    is that the logic?

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    “For instance, cities have always paid more for transportation than the rural country cousins because they use a mile of highway more effectively and receive a lower per capita return on their tax dollar. “

    HUH? Isn’t it jsut the opposite? They use a mile more and therefore get MORE return on their dollar?

    Or is it that they pay a LOT more dollars for city transportation, the additional use isn’t worth the additional cost, and therefore they get less ROI?

    I don’t follow you here.

    RH

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    If infill/redevelopment would be treated as new development and have to conform to the new standards…, then what is the advantage of infill / redevelopment. Might as well build in greenfields and avod the costs and risks accosiated with tearing down and rehabilitatning some old place full of asbestos.

    RH

  15. Anonymous Avatar

    “…it is not the cities that are over using the system…”

    Of course they are, that’s why they have congestion.

    “Instead the fault lies with the country cousins who are allowed to have a share of the distribution from transportation taxes that is out of proportion to the benefit.”

    So the obvious answer is to redistribute more use (and more jobs, and more economic benefits) to our country cousins, and at the same time get a better return on raod investments already made.

    RH

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    “we’re back to referencing OTHER BLOGS as if they are authoritative sources…”

    The authors of those blogs are well respected, and published, professors in their field. If you don’t like, don’t agree, or are unwilling to see the veracity of the message, jsut shoot the messenger.

    The point is tha JOBS are not a benefit, per se. Without including the entire systems cost, such a claim is BOGUS, even if it has wide emotional appeal.

    What matters is whether the total result of some policy action (any policy action, not just conservation and environmental ones) turns out to be a net benefit for ALL concerned.

    Otherwise, it isn’t worth doing, jobs or no jobs.

    It isn’t a question of whether air bags put more doctors out of work than the number of people making air bags, but that WOULD be PART of the answer.

    —————————–

    “No city can heal itself by returning to the day when transportation problems can be handled with local property, sales or even income tax money. The system requires a national and inter modal response well beyond the boundaries of a municipality. There must be some redistribution and there must be prioritization based on transportation need and economic efficiency, not political need. Economic development considerations are not required to create good transportation policy since good transportation decisions, automatically creates the maximum economic development potential. Redistribution schemes based on alleged need work well only when resources are plentiful. That not being the case, I suggest that a utilitarian system be instigated that seeks to provide the greatest good for the greatest number.”

    Now THAT I can agree with. Notice waht he said, Larry, greates good for the greatest number. Not the greatest good for a few at the expense of others, although, the greatest good for the greatest number doesn not necessarily exclude that possibility.

    As Danny points out, economic decisions should be made on economic efficiency, not political expediency or desires.

    Since economic efficiency engenders economic development, the two OUGHT to be congruent. It is only the forces of special interests that cause us to deviate, and therefore waste resources.

    RH

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    Jeff Brown Says:
    November 13, 2007 at 3:03 pm
    The folks over at ACEEE did a study on energy efficiency and job creation a while back (using an economic model), and a key finding was:

    β€œThe positive employment and income results are due primarily to the relatively low labor intensity of the energy sectors (coal, oil and gas extraction, fuel refining, and electric and gas utilities) compared to the economy as a whole. Conserving energy reduces the energy bills paid by consumers and businesses, thereby enabling greater purchase of non-energy goods, equipment, and services. The result is a shift of economic activity away from energy supply industries and towards sectors of the economy which employ more workers per dollar received. Regarding the different effects, less than 10% of the net jobs created are associated with direct investment in efficiency measures while more than 90% are associated with energy bill savings and respending of those savings.”
    For more, see

    http://www.aceee.org/pubs/ed922.htm

    So, if most of the jobs counted are actually created by re-spending the money “saved”, then where is the savings?

  18. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “The authors of those blogs are well respected, and published, professors in their field. If you don’t like, don’t agree, or are unwilling to see the veracity of the message, jsut shoot the messenger.”

    there is NO veracity is there is no referenced peer-reviewed information.

    Saying that you are an economist and that you believe something does not mean squat… in my book.

    Economists are already rather famous for having “theories” that often don’t reflect what’s going on – on the ground.

    If these guys “have it right”, then let’s see the studies that back up their assertions.

  19. Darrell -- Chesapeake Avatar
    Darrell — Chesapeake

    Replace the gas tax with a mileage tax? Now where do you get the idea that politicians will go with that?

    If you are stuck in traffic, you ain’t movin. If you’re not movin, you ain’t paying.

    A more likely proposal by the politicians is a mileage tax AND a gas tax. Think I’m kidding? Look at what happened with that lousy dollar for Jamestown.

    And down here in Tidewater, we already got one of them thar stormwater tax schemes.

  20. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    actually.. I agree.

    They’ll raise the gas tax to “encourage” folks to sign up for the mileage method….

    It’ll be cheaper to do the mileage method than the gas tax…

    πŸ™‚

  21. Michael Ryan Avatar
    Michael Ryan

    You may be able to put a GPS unit in my car, but are you going to tie into the on-board computer so my car can’t run without it? Because the first thing I’ll do is jam a screwdriver thru the damn thing.

    Not because I’m worried about the tax. Well, OK, I am. I live 65 miles from my job w/o benefit of HR to Richmond mass transit.

    But actually I worry more about how anyone monitoring my GPS records might feel about my artistic interpretation of the speed limits. What’s to stop them from issuing me a speeding ticket on a daily basis from my travel logs?

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    At a time when we are suppose to be conserving fuel – you are going to let the Prius owner and the Hummer owner pay the same amount of taxes because they drove the same amount of miles??? Does THAT sound wise???

    If I’m a Prius owner, I’m clipping the wire on that tattle tale ASAP, so when I fill up I’m paying tax on the fuel I buy not the miles I traveled. By the same token, if I drive a Hummer, I’m dropping the extra dime to get one of those tattle tales in my rig so I DON’T pay so much.

    Not a smart way to go folks.

  23. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Anonymous 1:09: Valid point. I have always maintained that a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax should be adjusted for the size, weight and pollution characteristics of the vehicle — for the very reasons you cite.

  24. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    That’s the purpose of the GPS unit “knowing” your VIN.

    The VIN is used to calculate your mileage fee. The VIN essentially incorporates the EPA mileage rating into your mileage charge.

  25. Anonymous Avatar

    “I have always maintained that a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax should be adjusted for the size, weight and pollution characteristics of the vehicle — for the very reasons you cite.”

    But the gas tax already does that, and the good people at Brookings point out that it is a vialble solution for the short term, until we get (and pay for) all the crap necessary to collect a mileage fee.

    This is a primary example of what I mentioned before. When you look at all the jobs created by environmental widgets, most of them turn out to be accounting jobs and legal jobs. This reperesents a “savings”?

  26. Anonymous Avatar

    “That’s the purpose of the GPS unit “knowing” your VIN.”

    Great. I’ll drop a V8 in my Prius.

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    “there is NO veracity is there is no referenced peer-reviewed information.”

    There is none here on this blog either.

    But these guys, do have many published and peer reviewd papers to their credit. They have been hired by numerous government environmental agencies to provide economic input to proposed policies.

    You have no obligation to agree with someone else’s opinion. But you cannot deny that it exists. If you have a problem with it, find an equally respected source (evenn if it is not peer reviewed) and we can discuss it.

    RH

  28. Anonymous Avatar

    “It’ll be cheaper to do the mileage method than the gas tax…”

    If that’s true, it will raise LESS money than the gas tax. Unless we get BOTH.

    RH

  29. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “You have no obligation to agree with someone else’s opinion. But you cannot deny that it exists. If you have a problem with it, find an equally respected source (evenn if it is not peer reviewed) and we can discuss it.”

    I have no problem with opinion.

    What I have a problem with is representing opinion as factual information by claiming that the person with the opinion has “credentials”.

    If that person IS indeed a recognized expert in the field AND he has produced peer-reviewed Studies and papers…on the specific subject under discussion

    … Then PROVIDE the reference material….

    Let me give you an example.

    Would you be likely to believe a podiatrist pontificating about how to do heart surgery?

    Of course not.

    So.. economists are the same way. If the guys field of study is the focus of the discussion then yes.. reference him AND reference the specific works of his that contribute to the discussion.

    Otherwise.. you’re essentially misrepresenting information in my view.

    I can handle it being an unintended/accidental thing as long as it does not become a pattern.

  30. Anonymous Avatar

    I thought it was relevant to point out that professionals who engage in the practice of environmental economics do not consider the jobs produced from widgets or policy as a benefit unless the jobs deleted by widgets or policy are also counted.

    And, that the quality and location of the jobs may not be the same, so there needs to be made the appropriate adjustments before you can say you came out ahead or not.

    These guys are not just economists, but environmental economists, and some ecological economists (which is a different field entirely). Some of them are also environmentalists who favor preserving the environment, but not at a cost that will kill more people than it saves.

    I don’t think we are doing heart surgery here at Bacon’s rebellion, otherwise all of us, includin EMR would be disqualified from stating an opinion.

    All I did was state an opinion and show that others, who happen to be published professionals, agree with me. Like I said, I thought it was relevant.

    If you can find someone who thinks we can mandate certain processes and come out ahead because of the jobs the mandate “creates”, then I’ll be happy to say I place no credence in their opinion.

    RH

  31. Anonymous Avatar

    Following are a few of the refereed publications from just one of my sources. I think you will agree these cover topics that are similar to those frequently debated at Bacon’s rebellion.

    RH

    “Taxation by Regulation? The Experience of Ontario Trucking Regulation,” The Logistics and Transportation Review 10 (Fall 1974): 207-212.

    “Property, Compensation, and Risk,” Osgoode Hall Law Journal 22 (Spring 1984): 163-172.

    “Bird: A Confusion Between Property Rules and Liability Rules,” Tort Law Review 3-3 (November 1995): 240-248.

    “Public and Private Capital and the Capital Coefficient in Canada: Comment,” Quarterly Review of Economics and Business 13 (Spring 1973): 97-100.

    “Real Rates, Expected Rates, and Damage Awards” (with R. A. L. Carter), The Journal of Legal Studies XX (June 1991): 439-462.

    “The Extent of the Separation of Ownership from Control,” Quarterly Review of Economics and Business 12 (Autumn 1972): 55-62.

    “Barriers to Entry as a Measure of a Firm’s Monopoly Power,” The American Economist 18 (Spring 1974): 33-35.

    “The Managerial Enterprise: A Critical Review Based on a Model of Expected Payoffs,” Economic Notes 1 (Spring 1973): 83-107.

    “Some Economic Conditions Conducive to Collusion,” Journal of Economic Issues 6 (June-September 1972): 29-38.

    “A Further Analysis of Provincial Trucking Regulation,” The Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science 4 (Fall 1973): 655-664.

    “Skill Differentials and Their Determinants” (with Neil Palomba), The American Economist 17 (Fall 1973): 130-136.

    “The Profit Variability Effects of the Managerial Enterprise,” The Western Economic Journal 11 (June 1973): 228-231.

    “Interaction Effects and the Separation of Ownership from Control,” Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali 21 (February 1974): 146-150.

    “Landlord-Tenant Advisory Bureaus in Ontario,” Canadian Public Policy 11 (Spring 1975): 244-247.

    “A Further Analysis of Profit Variability and Managerialism,” Economic Inquiry 13 (March 1975): 127-130.

    “The Managerial Enterprise: A Model of Expected Payoffs and Some Empirical Results,” Economic Inquiry 13 (December 1975): 590-595.

    “Merger Policy and Trade Policy in a Small Economy,” Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Economiche e Commerciali 25 (June 1978): 542-555.

    “Leniency, Learning, and Evaluations” (with G. Carliner and T. Romer), Journal of Educational Psychology 70 (Fall 1978): 855-863.

    “Market Power and Employment Discrimination” (with W. Haessel), The Journal of Human Resources 13 (Fall 1978): 545-560.

    “Does High School Economics Help?” (with G. Carliner and T. Romer), The Journal of Economic Education 10 (Spring 1979): 58-61.

    “Copyright and Computer Data Bases,” International Review of Industrial Property and Copyright Law 14 (Spring 1983): 190-213.

    “Assessing the Relative Impacts of Economics Journals” (with S. Liebowitz), The Journal of Economic Literature 22 (March 1984): 77-88.

    “Patents, Licensing, and Restrictions on Competition,” Economic Inquiry 22 (October 1984): 676-683.

    “Copyright Protection for Computer Software,” Research in Law and Economics 8 (November 1986): 205-226.

    “The Social Cost of Adoption Agencies,” International Review of Law and Economics 6 (1986): 189-203

    “Assessing Assessments of Economics Departments” (with S. Liebowitz), Quarterly Review of Economics and Business 28 (Summer 1988): 88-113.

    “Simple Calculations to Reduce Litigation Costs in Personal Injury Cases: Additional Empirical Support for the Offset Rule” (with R. A. L. Carter), Osgoode Hall Law Journal 32 (Summer 1994): 195-224.

    “Economic Loss, Economic Analysis, and the Supreme Court of Canada: An Economic Critique of Norsk Steamship and Bird Construction (with Bruce Feldthusen), Canadian Bar Review (September 1995): 427-445.

    “Money, Pseudo-Money, and Inflation: The Case of Lithuania” (with Jurgis Vilis), Cultural Dynamics (1997).

    “The Economics of Cruel and Unusual Punishment” (with John Henderson) European Journal of Law and Economics. (1998) 5:235-45 (a preliminary version is available on this website).

    “The Offset Rule: Some Multinational Evidence” (with R.A.L. Carter), European Journal of Law and Economics (1999). (a draft is available on this website). (here is a pdf of the published piece)

    “Does More Deterrence Require More Punishment? [or Should the Punishment Fit the Crime?]” (with John Henderson), European Journal of Law and Economics (2002, a draft is available on this website).

    “A Methodology for the Understanding of Expert Systems” (with J. Chilton and P. Miller), under consideration.

  32. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Great!

    Now when you’re making an assertion just provide the appropriate references that provide the evidence that it is indeed a fact and not just you and another guy who have the same opinion.

    I’m not discounting opinion..quite a bit of blog chatter IS opinion..

    but let’s differentiate between assertions that are opinions and ones that are verifiable facts.

    re: environmental widgets

    how about widgets in general?

    do we use the same test?

    you know..the one where we ask if the widget kills more people than if we did not have the widget?

    why restrict this logic to environmental widgets?

    other widgets also provide “benefits” but are we saying that government-mandated widgets have to test the “does it kill more people” test and private industry widgets do not?

    If you make wonderful widgets on your property but it causes pollution that damages peoples health but does not shorten their lives – does that widget “pass” the same test as the environmental widget?

    Can you find this out from your Environmental Economists or is that not in their field of study? πŸ™‚

  33. Anonymous Avatar

    “you know..the one where we ask if the widget kills more people than if we did not have the widget?”

    You mean like guns?

    “If you make wonderful widgets on your property but it causes pollution that damages peoples health but does not shorten their lives – does that widget “pass” the same test as the environmental widget?”

    “why restrict this logic to environmental widgets?”

    The short answer is that both sides have to pass the same test because they are both part of the same equation: cost of pollution = cost of pollution + cost of preventing pollution. (Remember, costs can be positive or negative, so the value of the widgets produced is a negative cost of pollution, assuming the widgets have a value.)

    Part of the cost of preventing pollution might be to shut down the widget plant that pollutes. So yes both sides have to meet the same test, and they should have the same standards for meeting that test. If (for example only)shutting down the widget plant makes X people homeless and we know that homeless people die at an accelerated rate, then that’s part of the equation just as if the widget plant was not shut down and increased the incidence of asthma.

    All I’m pointing out is that ideas you think are bizarre were taught to me in graduate school, and they are still being taught in schools across the nation and in other nations.

  34. Anonymous Avatar

    For what it is worth, most environmental economists FAVOR congestion charging, but their reasoning is far different from yours.

    Here is Glaser:

    :If done right, a congestion charge can reduce travel times for Manhattan drivers so that many car travelers will benefit, despite the charge, because the time they save is worth more than the cash cost of the congestion charge.”

    However, they also ask questions which those that blindly accept a strategy often ignore or minimize.

    Here is Kahn:

    “If NYC adopted road pricing how would this affect its local economy? How much more free time would people have who have grown used to being “stuck in traffic”?”

    Kenneth Button has a book “Road Pricing, Traffic Congestion, and the Environment” which has a discussion of the relationships between road pricing and congestion costs with considerable emphasis to practical aspects of the debate and alternatives to this raft of measures.

    I agree that congestion pricing is a good idea, but I don’t agree that it is a bed of roses that will cure all our problems. We should not go ointo this stupidly.

    RH

  35. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …”All I’m pointing out is that ideas you think are bizarre were taught to me in graduate school, and they are still being taught in schools across the nation and in other nations.”

    right.. unemployment leads to homelessness which leads to death.

    fatal every time

    therefore don’t give folks jobs making widgets because if widgets get allowed.. the people making them will die…

    you were taught this?

    man..that’s quite a curriculum…

    so.. yes.. now, I can see exactly where you come up with “preventing pollution can kill people”…

    sounds like the unintended effect of that curriculum was to teach how to get wrapped around the axle in one’s logic and reasoning processes

    just tweaking here… πŸ™‚

  36. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Hey.. if this is what you were taught.. where did all those EPA and DEQ folks get their schooling?

    probably at the same schools that taught all those nasty “environmentalists” I bet…

  37. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    …”I agree that congestion pricing is a good idea, but I don’t agree that it is a bed of roses that will cure all our problems. We should not go ointo this stupidly.”

    I don’t think it’s a perfect solution by any stretch of the imagination but perhaps the best of the less-than-preferred solutions.

    The game is still underway.

    Name an alternative that is realistic given the realities.

    See .. that’s the issue.. it’s the politics of “no”…

    It’s like needing to heat your home and you don’t like any of the options so you burn candles…and gripe.

  38. Anonymous Avatar

    “I don’t think it’s a perfect solution by any stretch of the imagination but perhaps the best of the less-than-preferred solutions.”

    That’s more like it. Now instead of selling it as a bed of roses, lets see what it really is.

    Will it solve congestion, no.
    Will it prevent pollution, no, or maybe only a little.

    Is it better than nothing, maybe.

    The problem with the politics of “no” is that the nosayers frequently have no costs associated with their action. Like you say, whenever a commodity is free, pwoplw will use it too much.

  39. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    we ….. could… offer folks the mileage tax option….for all travel.

    How about this – you get charged per your mileage, your car (EPA), WHERE you drive and WHEN you drive?

    so if you choose to drive an SOV SOLO at the height of rush hour…on the most congested roads, you get charged for it.. whereas if you choose to drive… say out in Facquier County at 2am in your Pruis with 3 others inthe car.. it’ s dirt cheap.

    just a sliding scale… and your GPS unit shows exactly how much you’ll be charged at every point in the game and keeps a running total that you’ll have to pay at next fuel up.

    and if you don’t like that option, then you pay 50 cents a gallon gas tax that lets you drive whatever you want whenever you want and wherever you want…

    sort of like an unlimited roaming plan…

    how about that?

    πŸ™‚

  40. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Larry, that makes perfect sense to me. It’s what I have been arguing all along — though more verbosely, perhaps, so the intent wasn’t as clear.

  41. Anonymous Avatar

    “then you pay 50 cents a gallon gas tax that lets you drive whatever you want whenever you want and wherever you want…”

    If we had that, you wouldn’t need the other.

    ———————————

    I really hate the idea of charging EPA mileage. I routinely do a lot better than that, but people that carry tons of junk around or drive aggressively get a lot less.

    My gas tank, on the other hand, pretty well understands my driving habits.

    It is one thing to receive GPS signals that say where you are, it is something else to send millions of signals the other way. Do we have enough bandwidth for this?

    We are a long way from universal GPS tolling, in the meantime, we should fix the gas tax.

    RH

  42. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    It is one thing to receive GPS signals that say where you are, it is something else to send millions of signals the other way. Do we have enough bandwidth for this?

    I think you only “send” when you gas up.. and the connection will be WiFI..

    and since it’s knows your VIN and your mileage between then it’s possible to set it up so that those that get better mileage than the standard – get credit for conserving.

    I’m not sure how far away.. at least 5 years and perhaps 10-20 easy… UNLESS the road funding issue pushes it.

    If some politicians are ready to fall on the swords for a gas tax increase – it could be put off for a while and of course if you’re gonna fall on your sword.. might as well do it 25 cents worth – right?

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