States Experiment With Pay-Per-Mile Tax Revenue System, Black Box Monitoring

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

States Experiment With Pay-Per-Mile Tax Revenue System, Black Box Monitoring

October 28, 2013 Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 10:42 AM EDT

WASHINGTON (21Alive) -- As auto makers turn out more fuel efficient vehicles, communities are losing tax revenue they would get from gas taxes to fix crumbling roads and bridges. As a solution, several states are looking at a black box for vehicles that a tax bill can be created around based on mileage.

According to an LA Times article, Libertarians and environmental groups are lobbying in favor of the black boxes while the tea party and American Civil Liberties Union is concerned about privacy.

The Highway Trust Fund is financed with a tax that drivers pay at the gas pump. The tax hasn't risen from 18.4 cents per gallon in 20 years and as more cars are getting more miles to the gallon, American's are not filling up as often. As a result, the Highway Trust Fund does not provide the funds to allow state road planning offices to properly fix America's major roads.

Some states are moving forward with the system, that would require drivers to pay-per-mile of road on which they drive. The black boxes may even keep track of where vehicles are driven via GPS monitoring. The LA Times says thousands of motorists have already tested the black boxes.

Two former U.S. Transportation secretaries urged Congress to move to a pay-per-mile system in a 2011 report, according to the LA Times.

While many may see the pay-per-mile system as a good alternative to address America's road issues, some are worried about the government being able to track their every move.

Nevada is among several states trying to find a way to track a car's mileage without tracking when and where a car is being driven. Oregon is experimenting with providing choices to drivers, such as having a device with or without GPS or not having a device and paying a flat fee based on the average miles driven by all state residents.

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