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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fear of being a volunteer

Por dbloggers

Unquestionably, Donald Trump is an excellent and successful business man. He has made the White House to praise the experimental program in Oregon that charges a mileage tax to volunteer drivers, plus the revenue sources to pay for Trump’s proposed infrastructure program. According to the program, volunteers are charged a fee of 1.7 cents for each mile driven on state roads. However, a few people are taking part of the innovate program. In 2016 only about 700 people were participating in the program, which planned to gather data and generate consumer feedback. A modest number if they plan to spread it off all over the nation.

Oregon has led the way in developing an alternative to the gas tax, with a program that levies a fee on vehicle per miles traveled. Mr. Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, expressed a favorable judgment on Oregon’s mileage tax and called it “innovative”. He raised the government up saying that Trump´s administration was open to look at ways to increase infrastructure projects’ revenues. Oregon’s Department of Transportation spent several years compiling data and researching about the pilot projects of mileage fee. Now the authorities agreed on launching a new pay-as-you-drive road tax.

Republicans do truly dislike the idea of transportation taxes. Many members of the party thought that it would go against the grain of the party’s push of lowering taxes. But is a nice alternative if we analyze that Oregon is a Democratic-leaning state where ideas of a clean environment are a priority for many voters.

Still, Oregon experiment has several troubles that can affect many citizens or cars’ industry and sales. According to the ideal federal standards, in order to combat climate change, fuel-efficient vehicles are required. That is an ecological idea that benefits the environment and helps to have clean cities. Yet, Trump administration is looking for quite the opposite. They are not interested in a better environment. Do not forget the United States of America went out from Paris agreement. Actually, they want to stop efficiency standards.

The main issue is that is a double-edged sword. Why? Simple, in US many states countryside drivers generally have less-efficient vehicles because they need power and stronger machines to ride between hills and rough routes. So the program of mileage fee is very nice news because they can save money on this alternative. On the other side of the coin, urban drivers will force more due to have fuel-efficient cars.

At the same time, Oregon’s Department of Transportation has spent years studying mileage-based programs that are ready to expand all over the state. But authorities consider that “it’s not part of the massive transportation spending package under discussion at the legislature”.

Maths is quite simple. Let´s see: If we rode 20 miles per gallon we would pay the same amount in mileage fees. Main trouble: Efficient cars would pay more than they do with a gas tax, while inefficient would pay less. Apparently, the money collected from those taxes it would be used to infrastructure repairs but it would fail if the cars are more fuel-efficient. Some people believe that happened because some persons are more sensitive to the new challenges and technologies than other ones.

On the contrary, drivers with efficient vehicles pay more with a mileage fee. They are the majority of Oregon’s guinea pigs. People that participate in the project can be tracked from a GPS, and subjects of odometer devices and daily diary. Nevertheless, although GPS is only used for distance tracking, many drivers dislike the idea of being controlled. Maybe this is one of the causes the idea is not popular among drivers. A former officer of Oregon’s Department of Transportation said “when we mention GPS and government it sounds like peanut butter and sardines. The program offers tangible evidence that a tax on vehicle miles traveled is a promising alternative to rely on fuel taxes”.

Oregon approved the gas tax in 1919. They launched the program in July 2015. Volunteers of the program are charged 1.5 cents per mile. A device inside their vehicles measures how much gas and distance they spend. Participants are refunded for the state gas taxes they pay at the pump, and out-of-state travels don’t count in the total tax.