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Old 02-09-2014, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Old Bellevue, WA
17,156 posts, read 12,094,635 times
Reputation: 7148

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State studies charging for road use — by the mile | Legislature | The News Tribune

This idea has been talked about for years. I seem to recall a study from the Ron Sims era about the feasibility of an odometer tax. Politicians say that as cars become more fuel efficient, they lose revenue because less gas consumed=less gas tax paid. It is being spearheaded by state legislators Tracey Eide (D, Federal Way) and Judy Clibborn (D, Mercer Island).

The preferred mechanism would be a mandatory GPS device in every car. The ACLU has privacy concerns about that, which I think are well placed. When first implemented, politicians promised that the social security number would never be used as a national ID number.

I don't know what the numbers show from year to year regarding gas tax revenue, but I do know that overall state revenue goes up pretty much every year. In 1970 the state spent $2084 per capita, inflation adjusted. In 2010, the number was $4770 per capita.
handy table of wa state budget, 1970-2010

I'd like them to look at the cost side before they go grabbing more revenue. The new 520 bridge will cost 18 times as much as the old bridge built in 1963, after adjusting for inflation. Keep in mind that in 1963, engineers were still using drafting tables and slide rules, so if anything the costs should have been higher then.
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Old 02-09-2014, 05:45 PM
 
644 posts, read 890,961 times
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I think you linked the wrong article.

Here's a good one that talks about the efforts to introduce such a tax in Oregon, plus the general merits of the system.

Given the high costs of implementing a mileage tax, I think it makes more sense to just increase the gas tax for now. If WSDOT needs more money, increasing the gas tax is an effective way to get it. People would probably raise holy blazes about it, but gas taxes in the US are quite low, and they're an excellent way to raise funds for infrastructure improvements that will benefit those who pay the tax. And even though cars are more efficient, gas consumption is fairly inelastic. A tax increase would likely have a negligible effect on how much gas people use.
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:58 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
25,855 posts, read 44,627,348 times
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There has been enough decrease in fuel consumption to hurt the state's revenue for roads, that's why they started to charge the $100 fee for electric cars that pay no gas taxes but still use the roads. Just like water and electricity, when you conserve, the cost of infrastructure still has to be paid so rates have to increase. I agree with raising the tax, they are not going to make people still driving 80s and 90s beaters get a GPS, and without those, you would tax people that drive 2,000 miles through Oregon to southern CA on vacation. They could go back and try to restore the value tax on car tabs, but Eyman would no doubt do another initiative.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:03 AM
 
3,698 posts, read 9,561,230 times
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Should be mileage and weight. Heavier vehicles that drive more often pay more in road taxes. And include a cost recovery fee on studded tires to compensate for the increased wear they cause. 1/10th of a cent per mile plus 1 cent per pound of GVWR.
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Old 02-10-2014, 10:23 AM
509
 
2,283 posts, read 3,337,007 times
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The mileage tax is the only fair method. They could also them use the mileage figures to allocate gas tax dollars to the various DOT regions. Maybe that will get the ferry served counties to pay their fair share!!

Trucks do pay a higher fee based on weight. Not sure the semi's pay enough to cover their damage, but I pay more for my one-ton truck than the SUV.

Fee on studed tires would be fair....but they also need to require that western Washington residents get a special permit for studs. You really don't need them in western Washington in most cases.

In eastern Washington studs save lives.
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Old 02-10-2014, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Woodinville
3,185 posts, read 3,564,927 times
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Whenever tax initiatives are proposed, the first question is always "Why is the budget so far over what we currently pay?" Have gas tax revenues really decreased? I'd like to see the numbers (sorry didn't read the articles in the links). Usually when politicians say "Revenues are DECREASING!!!!" they actually mean that the increase in revenue isn't as big as they wanted.
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Old 02-10-2014, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Seattle
5,545 posts, read 7,716,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 509 View Post
The mileage tax is the only fair method.
When someone who has a truck drives the same miles as someone else who has a smart car or a hybrid, they both will have to pay the same tax. The first driver pollutes the environment and damages the roads much more than the second driver. How is this fair?
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:18 PM
 
23,831 posts, read 45,509,924 times
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Really wonder how that would work with older vehicles?

Not everyone owns a modern car... my work van is an 85 Chevrolet that was bought new and my pickup is a 1991... both serve me well.

My summer car is a 68 Mustang Convertible and my other cars are Model T's and A's

The Model A Club is very strong in Washington with many chapters throughout the State.

Just something to think about when introducing complexity into the system.

Also, would tourists get a total pass since they are not residents?

At least with a fuel tax, everyone that buys fuel pays something... even Electric cars needs to be charged with bought power unless you have your own solar/hydro?
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:37 PM
 
3,009 posts, read 2,645,929 times
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Why not an tax people for breathing while we are at it. Then tax people for having a dog or car seeing they you the air to.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:11 PM
509
 
2,283 posts, read 3,337,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botev1912 View Post
When someone who has a truck drives the same miles as someone else who has a smart car or a hybrid, they both will have to pay the same tax. The first driver pollutes the environment and damages the roads much more than the second driver. How is this fair?
Do you want to drive on a public road or feel superior?? My truck pollutes less than most rigs on the road. The hybrid is just an exercise in stupidity.
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