Are you familiar with VMT? It is the acronym for Vehicle Miles Travelled and a radical plan from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission would tax Bay Area drivers up to 10 cents for every mile driven.
At the current rate, over $15 million dollars in tax revenue would be raised per day. The plan would require a GPS-like device to be installed into your car to track mileage.
I commute about 35 miles a day round-trip into Newark, and put on about 20,000 miles a year on my car. At 10 cents a mile, the annual tax would cost me $2,000 a year. It would be about $3.50 a day in tax to drive to work, basically doubling the cost of a gallon of gas. (Maybe I would finally drop the Starbucks/Peet's addiction that I have and spend the money on VMT.)
A tax like this would hit different groups harder than others, especially those living on a fixed income. Also, it seems to me that some cities would benefit more from this plan than others.
Cities with BART and other train stations will have easier access for commuters accross the Bay Area. Cities without a regional trasit option would have a harder time attracting customers from outside their city.
I live walking distance to BART in San Leandro, yet I don't take public transportation to work. With the current BART/AC Transit routes it would take me about 90 minutes to take public transit versus 30 minutes for driving.
I have a few questions that came to mind when I read the article. I know it is still early in the discussion, but:
- What are the implications to the Newpark Mall becoming a regional shopping destination?
- What are the implications to small business, deliverymen, and service companies?
- Would the transit tax also be transferred to the consumer through surcharges?
- Where does all the money go?
- If our education system is losing funding, do we spend the $15 million/day solely on transportation?
This may be a long ways away, but it is something we should start asking questions about.
So what do you think? Do you think we should charge an additonal tax to fund public transportation and road improvements? Share your thoughts in the comment sections below.