Skip to comments.Are You Ready for the Congestion Tax ?
Posted on 06/14/2005 6:30:11 AM PDT by clearsight
READY FOR THE CONGESTION TAX COLLECTOR? By Jon Christian Ryter June 14, 2005 NewsWithViews.com
During the Bush-41 years, the United States, England, Japan, Belgium, Germany, and Ireland embarked on an experimental vehicle tracking system designed for the 21st century. It was called the Intelligent Vehicle-Highway System or IV/HS. Ostensibly, it was designed to "lighten" traffic on heavily-used, smog-polluted roadways by assessing congestion taxes on the vehicles on the stressed roadways in order to "spread the traffic out" so that it moved faster with less pollutants spewing into the atmosphere during peak driving hours.
In reality, the purpose of IV/HS was to be able to control a population that Bill Clinton described in 1995 as, "...too highly mobile" by monitoring where that traffic was and, if necessary, by denying offending vehicles access to specific roadsor preventing residents of one State from traveling into another state without special "passes" or without paying a levy to do so. Because before any population can be controlled, government must know where that population is at any specific time. IV/HS was a theory that would have fit well in George Orwell's 1984 if the British New Worlder had entitled his book 1991 instead. Orwell only missed it by seven years.
It should be noted that IV/HS predated the Clinton Administration. George H.W. Bush initiated IV/HS in the United States with the Intermodel Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 at a cost of $151 billion over six years. Over $660 million of those dollars were earmarked for experimentation in IV/HS. Additional funds were set aside for building automated toll booths on private toll roads.
In April, 1992 Bush-41 issued an Executive Order on the privatization of state and local infrastructure assets built wholly or in part with federal money. (These assets, by definition, were roads, tunnels and bridges.) An interesting incentiveone that never made it into the evening newsappears in the EO. The Office of Management and Budget [OMB] "...had insisted that the federal government be repaid its past grants in the event the infrastructure was sold.
The Executive Order does away with this disincentive. State and local governments will be able to keep the majority of the proceeds from privatization The Executive Order goes a long way towards removing any remaining blocks to action along the lines envisioned by ISTEA." (This document, interestingly, was found in the Clinton White House Health Care Interdepartmental Working Group; Working Paper #1, Box 1748; National Archive.) (Whatever Happened To America; Jon Christian Ryter © 2000; pg. 414)
What is most interesting is that IV/HSlike the national identity card that I warned was coming (in precisely the manner it showed up) in Whatever Happened To Americaoriginated in Europe. Both are in use in Europe and Asia. The prototype from which the Diebold Institute cast its American model was borrowed from the pilot program in England where the experimental road system had already been installed in the heavily traveled M25 beltway around London. M25 was selected not only because of the amount of traffic on the roadway, but because the terrain was ideally suited for the constant measurement of speedand the monitoring of specific vehicles.
The UK Department of Transportation was so pleased with the initial results, they expanded IV/HS into the arterials (A-roads) of London itself. The UK system, according to the Diebold Institute reports, had a dual purpose. First, TrafficMasteras it became knownmonitors traffic and electronically assesses speeding tickets, levied against the owner of the vehicle regardless who is driving it. Second, TrafficMaster serves as an electronic toll collector (just as electronic scanners on the Dulles Greenway around Washington, DC scan stickers on the windshields of cars and charge the toll to the vehicle owners' credit cards). Third, the electronic system can also be used to regulate assess to specific roadways by denying access to those roads at access ramps and road junctions during peak travel time, or denying access to those who fail to purchase a special "congestion travel time" passa congestion tax, if you will. In other words, during peak drive time, just as some freeways use HOV lanes (high occupancy vehicles lanes) to cut down on the number of vehicles on the road during those times, IV/HS can deny access to any vehicles without a "congestion" sticker on its windshield.
That was the proposal offered by London's mayor Kenneth Livingstone to a mayoral group from some of the world's largest cities that met at the Cable Car Museum in San Francisco on Friday, June 3 for the UN World Environment Day Conference where attendees discussed the impact fossil fuel smog has on global warming.
Mayor Livingstone told the world mayors that Londonershimself includednow pay a "congestion fee" to not only drive the M25 beltway, but to drive in central London. The daily fee is a Euro equivalent to US $9. The $9 "voluntary" tax has forced thousand of Londoners out of their cars and into the now overcrowded city buses and subways to escape what blue collar workers feel is unjust tax that penalizes only the poor.
In San Francisco, commuters and tourists pay $3 to cross the Bay Bridge and $5 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to enter into the city. However, commuters who live in the populous suburbs south of the city can enter downtown San Francisco free since they don't cross either bridge.
However, even in ultra liberal, environmentalist-friendly San Francisco, Livingstone's tax message was not greeted with enthusiasm by the downtown merchants association who argued that a congestion tax will discourage shoppers who don't work in the city to pay what would amount to a "shoppers tax" for the privilege of fighting traffic and fighting for a parking space to shop.
And, the merchants' associations argued, it will also discourage new retailers and other businesses from relocating into the city. "It would be a pricing mechanism that drives businesses out of downtown areas, " argued John Grubb of the Bay Area Council. "And," he added, "it would be a disincentive for businesses already downtown."
While American politicians will worry about the potential repercussions in the voting booth in liberal California where taxpayers are tired of footing the bill for everything and everyone, Livingstone gambled and won. He imposed the tax in London in 2003 and stood for reelection, and won, in 2004. Congestion pricing in London targets an eight-square mile area of central London that includes its financial and entertainment districts between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Britishers who plan to be in London must buy daily, weekly, or annual passesand register their car's license plate numbers.
A network of 800 cameras within the congestion zone photograph the license plates of every vehicle that passes it. Motorists who are not in the "registered" database for that day are fined.
In the United States, such a plan could be implemented easily since most major metro areas have already begun installed hundreds of "traffic" cameras at key intersections to boost for sagging revenues in municipal treasuries. Add to that the fact that the license plates on every American vehicle since 1992 can be tracked by global positioning satellites [GPS], and you have a system that would allow American "congestion controllers" to do everything the British system can doand more.
If Uncle Sam wanted, the government could actually write a physical ticket and, by GPs, let a meter maid deliver the ticket to you at the next red light you stop at. Of course, the profitability of congestion pricing comes from levying fines electronically and mailing the "summons" to your home. No human hands are involved in the processexcept to arrest you if you fail to pay the ticket.
The most sinister aspect of IV/HS in the United States is the ability of the US government to covertly track any vehicle wearing a license plate stamped after 1992. The honing device, an electronic image stamped on the license plate when it was made, was to be a temporary tracking device until all vehicles on America's highways, byways and city streets, are equipped either with GPS or have some type of GPS chip installed somewhere unobtrusive under the hood of the car as a "non-theft devise."
The electronic honing device was developed under a $20 million research grant during the Bush-41 years. (Whatever Happened To America; Jon Christian Ryter © 2000; pg. 415). The electronic license plates scheme was global in nature. In the United States, the program was called HELP (Heavy Electronic License Plate). In Europe, the program was called LLAMD (London, Lyons, Amsterdam, Munich and Dublin) and is part of the international Drive System. In Japan the system was called VICS (Vehicle Information and Communications System). (ibid, pg. 415).
People tracking will be a global effort, with all of the governments of the world sharing America's GPS network to monitor the movement of traffic and people. Congestion taxing and the use of GPS to monitor the density of traffic on this nation'sor the world'sbeltway systems in order to reduce traffic and smog around the world's largest metro centers has one question that begs an answer. For now, that question can remain unanswered.
Why would the Clinton Administration jeopardize the national security of the United States in order to make GPS tracking available to the private sector to monitor the whereabouts of civilian vehicles on the roadways of Americaor for that matter, allow the governments of all the nations of the world do the same in their nation...or use our GPS system to track us?
GPS was so top secret that, according to former Bush-41 senior Pentagon advisor Henry Sokolski, the US government denied its existenceeven to its alliesfor over ten years.
What happened between Jan. 20, 1993 when Bill Clinton took office and March 29, 1996 when Clinton granted civilian access to 24 GPS satellites to the world? I find it hard to believe that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel cars justified the need to use GPS to regulate traffic on congested roadways around the world. It is more likely that the governments of the world suddenly had an empirical need to monitor a population that is too highly mobile. Oops...I just answered the question.
My response to this idea is "f--- off..." to any politician proposing it.
Sorry. That's the only proper response IMHO.
"Add to that the fact that the license plates on every American vehicle since 1992 can be tracked by global positioning satellites [GPS]"
This article should be taken with a grain of salt while wearing one's tin-foil hat.
Thanks for posting this. Got a link?
It looks like the link was posted with the article vs. the link source field: NewsWithViews.com
"...the ability of the US government to covertly track any vehicle wearing a license plate stamped after 1992."
Say what? How does that work?
I, too, would like to know how this, "track any car with a license plate stamped after 1992" works. If this is the case, and I find it very hard to believe it is, why do LEOs still "tail" people?
FWIW, I took the license plate off my vehicle and inspected it very closely. I could find nothing to lend credence to this idea.
I am not sure it is done directly by satellite, but through a scanning system built into the bed of the highway itself and then transmitted to the satellite?. Next time you are driving down the interstate around or through a large city notice the dual square pattern on the highway about 2' x 4' in size ( a thin tar line rectangular pattern) occurring about every 1/10th of a mile. That is the magnetic pick-up field which is interrupted each time a vehicle with a chip on the underside passes over. I was under the impression that every vehicle in the u.s. manufactured since 1985 was trackeable, but the article indicates a later date.
Shame on you!!!!!!!!! You forgot to capitalize the 'F'!
The author of this article really lost his credibility by demonstrating an utter lack of understanding of that the "IV/HS" concept was all about.
"Intelligent Vehicle-Highway System" (IVHS) was the term used to describe the theoretical extension of modern technology to the world of highway operations. It became very popular during and after the Gulf War in 1991 because defense contractors began to think of creative ways to apply many of their defense technologies to civilian uses (global positioning and vehicle tracking systems, for example). The assessment of "congestion taxes" wasn't really part of these early discussions -- the real "futuristic" goal at the time was that eventually transportation in the United States would involve high-tech automobiles that would operate free of human control by interacting with the roadway itself as well as the other cars on the road (imagine how much more efficient a highway system would be if cars were able to drive on their own -- no more than two feet apart at highway speeds).
The term "Intelligent Vehicle/Highway System" was replaced by "Intelligent Transportation System" in the mid-1990s when it became clear that: 1) the original "high-tech highway" concept was too ambitious, and 2) the application of technology to transportation would cover multiple areas of transportation (highways, mass transit, etc.) and shouldn't focus on just highways.
Nowadays, motorists in metropolitan areas deal with various ITS elements without even thinking about it. Those overhead variable-message signs that warn you of an accident or other delays on the road ahead of you are part of an ITS strategy for your city, as are those loop detectors at an intersection that monitor the number of vehicles on the road and automatically adjust the signal timing to optimize the operation of the intersection. As more an more high-tech applications become cost-effective to implement, these things will become more common.
In some cities you can even subscribe to a traffic monitoring service that will extend the "Warning: Accident Ahead" concept one step further. You can arrange to have them serve as your alarm clock by automatically calling your home phone number every morning, and if there is an accident on your usual route to work they will compute the estimated delay for you and activate the wake-up call earlier to inform you of the problem.
Wow.........x files ya think.........?????
These loop detectors don't monitor individual vehicles in any way -- they just detect a heavy object passing over them, estimate the size of the vehicle, and compute the speed. They are basically high-tech versions of those rubber hoses you sometimes see on roads that are used to count traffic.
That, my friend, is a Cranial Groundplane, NOT a tin-foil hat.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.