Thursday, June 09, 2005

More surprises at the pump! If odot has its way you may never know how much you're going to pay.


Odot is currently experimenting with GPS systems to be installed in your car to
calculate a road user fee that will be collected at the pump. Currently, the
system is designed to only charge a per mile tax within the State of Oregon.
Traveling outside of the state, you will not pay an Oregon road tax... however,
if other states adopt this technology, traveling to another state you will be
paying their per mile road fee.

Oregon's Road User Fee Task Force was established through HB 3946 and passed by
the Oregon legislative assembly in 2001 along with a grant from the federal
government to test the GPS systems in vehicles to track the miles driven with
in the state Oregon.

Under the proposed law, all new vehicles will be required to have the GPS
systems installed an older vehicles will be retrofitted.

The big picture... because this system will know exactly where you are, what
time you drive, it is also capable of variable rates for driving the same
roads.

These are the facts... the amount of money you pay per mile will vary depending
literally on where and when you drive and could change hourly. For example
driving during business hours will cost more than driving in the evening.
Rates proposed are anywhere between 1.25 cents to .10 per mile.

It is also very likely you could pass through in area that is called a
congestion pricing area. Odot defines this as "area pricing" where it will
cost more to travel on these roads based on use of the road and the time.

Some areas will have an additional use its tax called "facility pricing", this
is where designated roadways will have a special rate added to the mileage rate
fee during congested periods of the day.

Road tolls... with the GPS system in place, you can arrive at the pump and find
that bridge you just traveled on had a toll placed on it as well.

What about fuel-efficient vehicles? To quote odot, " from the transportation
revenue perspective, fuel-efficient vehicles produce less fuel tax revenue
because they consume less gasoline. "
Does this mean that fuel-efficient vehicles will pay more per mile? Owners of
hybrid cars found out the hard way.

Personally, I see too many flaws in the system at least from a taxpayer point
of view and this is another way for free access to our already struggling bank
accounts.

I recommend that we put a stop to this before it gets started.

If you don't believe me, check out odot's web site at...

http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OIPP/ruftf_faq.shtml#VMT%20good

oh yes, and think about what the insurance industry will do with the information.

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