Monthly Archives: March 2019

Big Brother Behind the Wheel

There is a debate going on in the US Congress, as well as State Assemblies and Legislatures on how to fix our nation’s infrastructure. I have already shared where in excess of a trillion dollars has been funded since 1992, but work still needs to be done.

The vehicle gas tax is the current tool used, but it has not been updated by the feds since 1992 and to get it to where it needs to be would add $1.60 to each gallon of gas. That would cripple the nation, so while we can expect some sort of increase, other methods are being reviewed.  One such source is Vehicle Miles Traveled or VMT.

There is a thought in the fed circles of government that not all drivers are paying their “fair” share to fund the roads, even if you are paying at the pump. A greater distribution of payment for those that drive more should be instituted. Our friends in the trucking business know this feeling all too well as several states in the US are and have been enacting “trucker only” tolls to get a “fair share” revenue for usage. Forget the fact that Western Civilization dies without the trucker……

The idea behind VMT is simple – tax you for the miles you drive. The Congressional Budget Office in 2011 came out with a report under the Administration of Darth Vader (aka Barry Obama) about methods to fund highways. It’s too lengthy to insert, but here is the link: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/22059#section0 . You can download the document and I suggest you do so. When you read about potential taxes on VMT, you can tell the office knew they had a topic Lord Obama would like.

So how does VMT work, well you are seeing samples of it in driving right now. One insurance carrier, who I won’t name and publicize, has a device you insert to accurately record your miles for a discount off your policy. Now, this is voluntary mind you and the insured is granting this permission. Our friends over in trucking have never had the luxury of “voluntary” anything and have always maintained a record of miles driven. With the mandate of Electronic Logging Devices, or ELD (another product of Lord Barry’s tenure in office), truckers now have an electronic leash they maintain that keeps ticking when they drive.  ELD’s were supposed to make driving safer for truckers. Drivers are federally mandated to take 30 minutes of rest for eight hours on the road AND cannot exceed 70 hours worked in the week. ELD was going to ensure these guidelines are met.

A recent study by Northeastern University, Michigan State, and the University of Arkansas show that ELD’s may actually becoming a cause for unsafe driving http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=73710#.XIKATk2os5s so forcing people to monitor miles may not be the system to use.

Which brings me back to VMT. For this to work, you and I have to be willing to allow the feds to install some form of monitoring device on our cars to track miles OR we will have to fill out paperwork and turn in for road tax purposes. There are loads of issues with this from privacy to potentially killing small business that uses vehicles to produce revenues.

Are you ready for Big Brother to be behind your wheel?

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