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Old 12-28-2013, 01:28 PM
 
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Cars are more efficient meaning Highway Trust fund collects less and less every year while having to maintain more and more roads. It's why the Highway Trust Fund is going broke. In 2015 the Highway Trust fund will be 14 Billion dollars short leaving congress to fund the difference.

Could raise gas taxes, but doesn't really put the burden on those who cause the most maintenance.

Better option - ton-mile fee. A car that weights 1 ton and travels 7500 in a year causes a lot less road damage than a two-ton truck traveling 15,000/yr.

Fee assessed at annual sticker inspection. Read the odometer, note how many miles since last inspection and then charge a fee based on mile and weight (e.g. 2 cents / ton mile).

This would over time encourage lighter vehicles and fewer miles and would not exempt people who seek to get around the gas tax with electric vehicles.
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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The HTF took in $37 billion in revenue, mostly from gas taxes compared to $53 billion in expenditures. Of course, not all gas taxes go to the HTF which compounds the problem. About half of the shortfall is due to siphoning off of gas taxes for unrelated things.

Nothing wrong with a ton-mile fee, but it largely accomplishes the same thing. A ~3,000 pound Prius might get more than double the mileage of a ~6,000 pound SUV or truck, but not by all that much. It's a complicated solution to a problem that could be much more simply solved. Just raise the gas tax by a few cents a gallon and stop siphoning of money for non-highway expenditures. Worrying about electric cars when they're currently subsidized by $7,500 is just pointless. It's working at cross-purposes. While I don't really agree with the subsidy on electric cars, it's pointless to subsidize them while simultaneously putting new taxes on it.
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:38 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, AUSTINtx
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I like this as a fair replacement for the gas tax, but it puts a lot of burden on enforcement. Lots of "unwilling people" would rack up hundreds of dollars in fees over the course of the year and then not go in for their inspection, kinda like some people do with not paying tolls. Add to that the costs of getting an older vehicle to pass inspection and they are hit with a double whammy. We also have a lot of issues with certain inspectors unethically passing failing cars and now we have to trust them even more. Still there must be a way to do this. It is less intrusive than a GPS-based VMT tax.

On the plus side alternative fuel vehicles would still have to pay a usage tax while guzzlers and those who do more road damage pay more.
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Holly Neighborhood, AUSTINtx
3,582 posts, read 5,312,967 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
The HTF took in $37 billion in revenue, mostly from gas taxes compared to $53 billion in expenditures. Of course, not all gas taxes go to the HTF which compounds the problem. About half of the shortfall is due to siphoning off of gas taxes for unrelated things.

Nothing wrong with a ton-mile fee, but it largely accomplishes the same thing. A ~3,000 pound Prius might get more than double the mileage of a ~6,000 pound SUV or truck, but not by all that much. It's a complicated solution to a problem that could be much more simply solved. Just raise the gas tax by a few cents a gallon and stop siphoning of money for non-highway expenditures. Worrying about electric cars when they're currently subsidized by $7,500 is just pointless. It's working at cross-purposes. While I don't really agree with the subsidy on electric cars, it's pointless to subsidize them while simultaneously putting new taxes on it.
How much is siphoned off and to what?
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Old 12-28-2013, 02:46 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,909 posts, read 42,165,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
How much is siphoned off and to what?

It will vary by state as to the amount but typically, in addition to highway maintenance and construction, liquid fuels taxes also fund mass transit, bike/walking paths, bike lanes, boardwalks and other non-motor vehicle transportation uses.

Some states, like MD, siphoned off gas tax revenues to balance the General Fund over the last several years. This then created a crisis, especially at the local government level, when planning and paying for new roads or maintenance. These localities many times were required by the State to perform these upgrades with the promise of funding which was then not appropriated.

Soon the OP will chime in about how highways don't pay for themselves through the gas tax so it needs to be raised, with the resultant funds going to mass transit to further subsidize riders such as himself.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:01 PM
 
Location: Texas
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You can't get out of paying a gas tax.
I'd like to see them try to enforce a ton-mile tax.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:06 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,909 posts, read 42,165,527 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
You can't get out of paying a gas tax.
I'd like to see them try to enforce a ton-mile tax.
As proposed a ton-mile tax would entail a whole new department/bureaucracy in many states since quite a few don't have any type of inspection program now.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,098,416 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verybadgnome View Post
How much is siphoned off and to what?
A little over 16% from fuel taxes is siphoned off.

Quote:
It will vary by state as to the amount but typically, in addition to highway maintenance and construction, liquid fuels taxes also fund mass transit, bike/walking paths, bike lanes, boardwalks and other non-motor vehicle transportation uses.

Some states, like MD, siphoned off gas tax revenues to balance the General Fund over the last several years. This then created a crisis, especially at the local government level, when planning and paying for new roads or maintenance. These localities many times were required by the State to perform these upgrades with the promise of funding which was then not appropriated.

Soon the OP will chime in about how highways don't pay for themselves through the gas tax so it needs to be raised, with the resultant funds going to mass transit to further subsidize riders such as himself.
That's kind of a separate issue with the state gas taxes. California did a similar thing in 2010 and moved all gas taxes into the general fund during the recession.
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Old 12-28-2013, 03:27 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,846,931 times
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Things which cause the most maintenance
1) Heavy trucks: These are already charged according to weight and mileage
2) Old Man Winter: He's tax exempt.

Light vehicles do little damage overall, and even less difference between them.

All a ton-mile fee does is add collection expenses, make a more easily evadable tax (unplug the speed sensor for part of the time), and of course not actually replace gas tax; if they institute such a tax it'll be in addition to the gas tax, knowing how government works.
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Old 12-28-2013, 04:46 PM
 
12,303 posts, read 15,209,125 times
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It should also vary by time traveled. Many 8 lane highways are used to capacity only six hours a day. The rest of the time two lanes would do. The gas tax hits the peak travelers only marginally (fewer miles per gallon) but a ton mileage tax, with peak surcharge, could make them pay more of their share, or even persuade some to drive in off peak periods.
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