A Good Start

End it now.

The board of the Atlanta Regional Commission is studying the idea of eventually axing the federal gas tax, the main source of transportation funding, as it looks for “sustainable” transportation funding. The gas tax doesn’t rise with inflation and gets weaker every year.

And while they are at it, they should adopt Rep. Davis’s plan to stop auto-adjusting the state gas tax.

14 comments

  1. StevePerkins says:

    A better start would be Georgia’s representatives IN congress calling for cuts in taxation and spending, rather than a local Atlanta body making non-binding recommendations that they do so… while simultaneously looking to enact regional taxation of their own.

    This would be like the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners speaking out against Saxby’s farm bill… to call themselves “fiscal conservatives” while socializing solid waste management locally.

  2. Progressive Dem says:

    Economic growth will not continue in metro Atlanta without significant improvements to the transportation system in metro Atlanta. The free market response to congestion is for jobs and business to flow into Charlotte, Jacksonville and other competing regions. The entire state will suffer. Current financing mechanisms for transportation are inadequate and need to be revamped to meet the needs and challenges of this century.

  3. StevePerkins says:

    Guys, I’m not even challenging anything you’re saying. I’m just pointing out that this isn’t some call for tax cuts as the original post makes it sound. It’s a call to cut to taxes at the federal level, so we can replace (or exceed?) them with taxes at the local level. Call it good, call it bad, but don’t call it a taxation or spending cut.

  4. DTK says:

    From the same article:

    “The ARC suggests more research on one of the more talked-about ideas, an odometer charge, or vehicle miles traveled.

    Such a charge would tax drivers by the amount of miles they drove. … Depending on how sophisticated the tracking is, it could send the tax paid directly to the jurisdictions whose roads the driver used. ”

    So, what does this mean? Are we going to have mandatory government inspections of cars to check mileage?

  5. gt7348b says:

    Actually, the way a pilot program in Oregon worked was that odometer reading is read via radio transmitter at the gas pump and you pay a mileage fee instead of your gas tax.

    The technology doesn’t track where you’ve been, just the number of miles you drove. It is automatic and is paid when you pay for your gas instead of the gas tax. Potentially, it could be used to ramp up the gas tax on out of staters.

  6. StevePerkins says:

    But wouldn’t out-of-staters on their way to Florida just get used to filling up in Tenn. or S.C., and then waiting until the Florida border before getting the next full tank? When I drive out of state, I always top off on whichever side of the border has the most favorable prices. It would also pretty much kill off Georgia service stations in border towns. I don’t really see how this notion shifts burdens to out-of-staters, as opposed to shifting burdens to the locals who drive locally.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily opposing any tax change out-of-hand… just asking questions. It’s kind of like the FairTax or GREAT mentality that I don’t understand. People get so incredibly excited about calls for “tax reform”, even if they’re shaky on explaining what the net effect will be. Stop shuffling the three cards around and just tell me whether my taxes will go up or down (too many people assume “down”… I assume “up”).

  7. Progressive Dem says:

    The vast majority of vehicle miles traveled are in metro Atl. Topping off in another state is not particularly important. It improves tax equity by assigning the biggest users with more costs.

  8. StevePerkins says:

    Huh? Doesn’t taxation by the gallon achieve ALREADY assign the biggest costs to the biggest users? In fact, it does so better… because charging by the mile rather than by the gallon rewards drivers of gas-guzzlers and penalizes drivers of efficient vehicles.

    This is again the point I’m getting at. Because “tax reform” ideas are often three-card shuffle games, where it’s not clear where things will land, people like to read into it whatever they want to read. Conservative types think they’re getting a tax cut, when they aren’t. Liberals think they’re promoting environmentalism, when they aren’t. Etc.

  9. Game Fan says:

    NEVER for taxation, however…
    problems such as infrastructure and emissions could be tackled much cheaper and more efficiently with a gas tax, rather than some of the supposed nifty solutions espoused by the neocons, which include outsourcing our interstate system to multinational corporations who would charge people to travel. And, (under the bailout legislation) hornswaggling Americans under cover of darkness to succumb to some of this carbon credit/tax BS!! Globalists in disguise!! And they’re all “gettin’ paid” too. Not real conservatives!!!

  10. Dave Bearse says:

    Motor fuel taxes encourage both development of higher mpg vehicles and alternative fuels, charging per mile instead of per gallon is a step backward on those counts.

    I agree a combination of fuel and mileage taxes is in order if electric vehicles become viable, but only morons would advocate “eventually axing” a “gas tax [that] doesn’t rise with inflation” and replace it with a fixed per mile tax that doesn’t rise with inflation.

    Implementation of a mileage tax is a step toward variable tolling—the government knowing where and when you’re traveling on public roads and taxing you accordingly.

    The collections will be privatized of course, so you know your privacy will be respected. LOL

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