Should motorists pay based on miles driven?
A story last week in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel caught my attention. It said a state committee is exploring the idea of charging Wisconsin motorists fees based on the number of miles they drive.
How would the state learn how much you drove? The idea of installing global positioning system units in everyone’s vehicles isn’t sitting well with Transportation Finance & Policy Commission members, and I doubt whether it would sit well with residents concerned about “Big Brother” watching their every turn.
Instead, the commission is considering having drivers report their odometer readings to the state.
What’s driving such a call? Well, remember that a few years ago the state halted the annual automatic increase in the gas tax that accounted for inflation. That move and more vehicles that get better mileage is reducing gas tax revenue. So that money and vehicle registration fees aren’t keeping pace with funding needs. Those revenues will leave the state roughly $8.7 billion short of projected money needed in the next decade to maintain transportation facilities and finish projects the state already has committed to.
Don’t like the mileage fee? Well, many readers also despise toll roads, despite technology now used in Illinois and other states that creates open-road tolling where you pass through at highway speeds and get charged on I-pass units.