Transportation Theorists Rally Around Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax

From Miller-McCune magazine: Transportation Theorists Rally Around Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax

Another article supporting mileage taxes (citing the UVA confab ... they have a really good PR shop at the Miller Center).

However I dispute Jeff Shane's contention that treating the gas tax as a sin tax is a problem. It is a solution, since by raising it you discourage gasoline consumption, which is consistent with our transportation and environmental policies. In the end I agree this blows up , but that is the point, you want it to start blowing up: that will (a) change vehicle fuel trends, and (b) be the impetus to move to mileage taxes, which are, I suspect given the latest Dutch news (previous post), otherwise unachievable.

In the absence of collapse of the existing system, deploying a new funding framework is fraught with difficulties. What we face now, despite all the protestations of crisis and catastrophe by those in the industry, is a slow bleed.

Indexing gas taxes to fuel consumption to ensure steady revenue (if consumption drops because of mileage improvements, taxes rise) is a good short - term (5-10 year) strategy.

As I said previously, the institutions are broken, so sensible policies are not really possible at the moment. Moving towards a utility model would help. The political governance needs to be resolved before funding is. Establishing an independent, regulated, and perhaps publicly owned "road utility" (or several of them, at different levels of the road hierarchy, and for different geographical regions) is a pre-requisite to successfully implementing pricing. It deals with both privacy and institutional structures and provides the rationale and cover for funding increases to maintain existing infrastructure (and perhaps expand it).


David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on October 7, 2010 12:40 PM.

Road Pricing in the Netherlands Dead Again was the previous entry in this blog.

Schoolhouse rock for transportation funding is the next entry in this blog.

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