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"It was a splendid population - for all the slow, sleepy, sluggish-brained sloths stayed at home - you never find that sort of people among pioneers - you cannot build pioneers out of that sort of material. It was that population that gave to California a name for getting up astounding enterprises and rushing them through with a magnificent dash and daring and a recklessness of cost or consequences, which she bears unto this day - and when she projects a new surprise the grave world smiles as usual and says, "Well, that is California all over."

- - - - Mark Twain (Roughing It)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Democrats to tax you for each mile you drive

New Democrat Taxes

  • The device in Oregon tracks mileage and gasoline consumption. They send the information electronically from the car to private contractors, which provides motorists with a monthly bill.

(San Jose Mercury News)  -  State officials have begun to seriously study a plan to replace California's gas tax with a fee for each mile motorists drive.

"We're going to have to find another way to finance the upkeep of the roads," Gov. Jerry Brown said earlier this month in rolling out his 2015 budget, noting that California has a $59 billion backlog of maintenance needs on state highways and bridges.

Brown gave no specifics. But last fall he signed a law that set up a commission to study a "road usage charge" and establish a pilot program by Jan. 1, 2017. The 15-member commission had its first meeting on Friday in Sacramento.
The idea is far from reality, but it's raising a hornet's nest of practical and political questions, from how government would track the miles to what happens when people drive out of state or on private roads.

But it is gaining momentum. This year, Oregon is beginning a test program in which 5,000 volunteers will pay 1.5 cents per mile driven, and be refunded each month what they paid under the state's 30-cent gasoline tax. Colorado and Washington state also are studying similar pilot programs.

"I think there's a long way to go before this is implemented. But we have a real problem when it comes to infrastructure in California," said U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Richmond, who wrote the bill when he was a state senator. "We have to do something."
Silicon Valley is getting involved early.
The chairman of the California Transportation Commission, which chose the 15 members of the study panel, is Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
Guardino said he wants the new commission, formally called the California Road Charge Pilot Program Technical Advisory Committee, to explore every angle, and receive wide public and media scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Oregon's transportation department announced this month it has signed a contract with a San Jose company, Azuga, that makes GPS tracking devices that plug in below a vehicle's dashboard.
The devices Oregon intends to employ track mileage and gasoline consumption. They send the information electronically from the car to private contractors like Azuga, which provides motorists with a monthly bill.

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