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CA: Put brakes on gas tax idea
Bakersfield Californian ^ | 11/27/04 | Op/Ed

Posted on 11/27/2004 9:41:57 AM PST by NormsRevenge

Someone needs to pull the new director of the Department of Motor Vehicles over and stop her from speeding heedlessly into the future.

Joan Borucki wants to put global positioning devices in cars to track the mileage they travel. The idea is to more closely tie gas taxes to where cars go, the routes they take and the mileage they rack up, rather than the fuel they use.

The problem inspiring this potentially Orwellian notion is that as more new and fuel-efficient cars take to the state's highways, the less the state gets in gas taxes to maintain highways.

As far as it goes, that makes some sense -- but the potential pitfalls of the idea ought to bring it to a screeching halt.

Oh, we can hear the civil liberties reassurances already -- we'll only download odometer readings at the gas pump. Don't buy it. You do not need a GPS to do that. And how few government programs can one name that didn't expand beyond their original intent.

In fact, one variation of the idea is a differential gas tax -- you would pay more per mile on badly impacted roads and less on lower-traffic routes.

And for that you do need GPS. It is none of the state's (or anyone else's) business whether you go to a jazz concert on Saturday night or go to a porno flick to get jazzed on Saturday night.

And can't you just imagine lawyers, private eyes, ex-wives and others salivating to get hold of the information?

And what happens if you take a long out-of-state trip? When you return, the difference between the odometer reading at the start and at the end will hit you with a whopping bill -- even though you would have paid gas taxes in the other state.

Besides, every single gas pump in the state would have to be redesigned and remanufactured no matter how you rig the system. Guess who pays for that, too?

Almost as bad is that the idea is as wrong-headed from a social policy standpoint as you can get. If Guv. Arnold racks up as many miles in his five Hummers as someone does in a hybrid vehicle, they would pay the same amount, even though the hybrid vehicle owner is doing more to help clean up the air.

Is government suddenly giving up on the idea of rewarding people for good deeds?

The present system is simple, straightforward and it works. Only a bureaucrat would think that is a recipe for change.

Part of the price a bulk distributor charges retailers includes 36 cents per gallon -- the combined federal and state gas tax -- that the retailer passes on to consumers at the pump.

And don't lose sight of the fact this is DMV we're talking about. It has one of the worst records for technology implementation of major state agencies.

We're hardly inclined to discourage people -- public officials or in the private sector -- from thinking outside of the box, but this is one idea that should not be unwrapped.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Editorial; US: California
KEYWORDS: borucki; brakes; calgov2002; california; gastax; idea; mileagetax; privacylist; provacylist

1 posted on 11/27/2004 9:41:58 AM PST by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge
They're seeking the same thing in Oregon.
2 posted on 11/27/2004 10:04:37 AM PST by FoxInSocks
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To: NormsRevenge
The problem inspiring this potentially Orwellian notion is that as more new and fuel-efficient cars take to the state's highways, the less the state gets in gas taxes to maintain highways.

Does the word "research" have any meaning in the world of journalism any more?
Is the author not aware that the state gas tax income is not used exclusively to build and maintain highways any more? A good portion is used by the wack-jobs in the legislature to fund gay parades and other really really weird stuff.

If the gas tax were used exclusively for its intended purpose, no games would need to be played.

3 posted on 11/27/2004 10:07:30 AM PST by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: NormsRevenge
Borucki's "idea" is DOA in Sacramento. Another example of legislators out of control leaving us the option of "governing" by referendum.
4 posted on 11/27/2004 10:09:27 AM PST by afnamvet (Tuy Hoa AB RVN 68-69 Jet Noise...The Sound of Freedom!)
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To: NormsRevenge

With this kind of thinking, maybe it is time to shut some of Government down. What happened to civil liberties?


5 posted on 11/27/2004 10:19:11 AM PST by Logical me (Oh, well!!!)
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To: Logical me

6 posted on 11/27/2004 10:30:16 AM PST by agitator (...And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark)
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To: Logical me

>>What happened to civil liberties?<<


READ the Patriot Act.


7 posted on 11/27/2004 10:36:29 AM PST by B4Ranch ((The lack of alcohol in my coffee forces me to see reality!))
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To: B4Ranch
READ the Patriot Act.

After that, look at the World Trade Center towers.

8 posted on 11/27/2004 10:46:55 AM PST by Cobra64 (Babes should wear Bullet Bras - www.BulletBras.net)
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To: B4Ranch; Logical me
What happened to civil liberties?

READ the Patriot Act.

It took the Patriot Act to wake you up? Where the hell were you when all the anti-Second Amendment legislation in this nation was passed over the previous 40 years?? The Patriot Act is nothing but icing on the sacrifice-liberty-for-security cake.

If people put half as much energy into getting anti-Second Amendment laws overturned that they put into bellyaching about the Patriot Act, we wouldn't have the mess we do now.

9 posted on 11/27/2004 11:47:44 AM PST by Prime Choice (I like Democrats, too. Let's exchange recipes.)
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To: Prime Choice

Apparently you aren't familiar with my posts nor have you looked at my profile page.


10 posted on 11/27/2004 12:10:31 PM PST by B4Ranch ((The lack of alcohol in my coffee forces me to see reality!))
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To: B4Ranch
Apparently you aren't familiar with my posts nor have you looked at my profile page.

Apparently.

11 posted on 11/27/2004 12:26:29 PM PST by Prime Choice (I like Democrats, too. Let's exchange recipes.)
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To: NormsRevenge
and these are the same RATS who scream about the Patriot Act wanting to track your car... please
12 posted on 11/27/2004 12:47:01 PM PST by Chode (American Hedonist - Dubya... F**K YEAH!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge
"Someone needs to pull the new director of the Department of Motor Vehicles over and stop her from speeding heedlessly into the future."

Well, actually, the people need to do that to her ignorant boss that hired her, along with his ignorant "Hydrogen Highway" bullcrap!!!

13 posted on 11/27/2004 5:17:55 PM PST by SierraWasp ("Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" - Barry Goldwater when he was in his right mind)
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To: NormsRevenge
the best Euroweenie companies couldn't make it work ..what makes you think the DMV can do it....?

2004.02.18 GERMAN FIASCO German GPS Toll Collect system dumped - new proposals sought The German government has dumped the troubled Toll Collect system for tolling trucks on the nation's 12,000km (7500mi) autobahn (motorway) system. The Toll Collect GmbH consortium led by DaimlerChrysler showed such a preoccupation with the terms of a severance arrangement, government officials decided they had lost confidence in their ability to deliver a workable system. German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the government concluded the Toll Collect technology was a "failure" and that there would be "no further talks" with the consortium. The government is cancelling the contract, suing the contractor for billion dollar damages, reinstituting the sticker 'vignette' permit system as an interim measure, and calling for proposals for a new electronic toll system. Transport minister (secretary) Manfred Stolpe was the first to announce the German government were pulling the plug on Toll Collect. He said this as he emerged from eleven hours of talks Tuesday Feb 17. This followed a weekend of intense discussions with the consortium - which consists of DaimlerChrysler (45%), Deutsche Telekom (45%) and Cofiroute (10%). The toll system which involved satellite positioning (GPS) receivers in up to 1.4m trucks was supposed to start last August, then in November. Tens of thousands of in-truck units have been returned defective to the manufacturer Siemens, but a host of other problems prevented a start as well. Meanwhile the German government has been losing close to $200m (E150m) per month in toll revenues. Most recently Toll Collect proposed a slimmed down version of the system to begin by the end of 2004, the full system by end-2005. Stolpe said after the failure of the talks that Toll Collect were unable to provide an acceptable launch date, or sufficient assurance it could meet its commitments. The transport minister said the Toll Collect representatives were trying to gain a guaranteed severance fee. "This behavior suggests to us that (they) do not have confidence in their own technology," said Stolpe. Officials say they hope to complete termination of the Toll Collect contract within two months. They are likely to go for proven dedicated shortrange wireless systems which operates from over-the-road gantries. They have already had discussions with several groups, the most publicized of which is Autostrade of Italy. They successfully implemented a transponder-based system on Austria's complete motorway system which started operations Jan 1 2004 on schedule and without problems. The cancellation of the Toll Collect project is a heavy blow to the Toll Collect partners, especially Daimler who reportedly dominated the operation. They stand to lose over $1b of money invested, unknown amounts more in damages. The highly publicized case of extraordinary incompetence in management will remain on the record of Daimler in particular. Toll Collect GmbH made absurd claims about the superiority of their GPS technology and about the limitations of shortrange wireless systems. Ignorant of tolling, and supremely arrogant, these giant car and telephone companies richly deserved this humiliating demise. Now the German government has an opportunity to hire some toll system people who know what they are doing in place of the blowhards. In the US AT&T and IBM both dabbled in electronic toll systems at one point and soon pulled out to leave it to smaller specialist companies. MCI WorldCom had a distaster with their spinoff/subsidiary MFS, which bungled large electronic toll jobs in New Jersey and California in the 1990s and went bankrupt. But for Daimler's fiasco with Toll Collect is unprecedented in its sheer size and vast cost. TOLLROADSnews 2004-02-17

14 posted on 11/27/2004 5:45:19 PM PST by spokeshave (Strategery + Schardenfreude = Stratenschardenfreudery)
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To: NormsRevenge

Yep. I hate dealing with DMV every other year on smog checks. The last thing on earth I want to do is to pay the likes of Joan Borucki more of my hard-earned dollars for the privilege of driving my car on the public roads through a procedure that smacks of Big Brother. Thanks but no thanks.


15 posted on 11/27/2004 11:45:07 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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