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  1. #1
    Regular Member Remmy's Avatar
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    The more you drive the more you pay twice
    With tracking device, miles you drive may get to betaxing Nevada wants to test device to track mileage as fuel taxalternative Leila Navidi / File photo
    Looking west, cars and trucks drive on Interstate 15 in and out of Mesquite. State transportation officials want to test a device to track the distance vehicles drive on state roads as a way to fund constructionprojects.
    CARSON CITY — The Nevada Department of Transportation has quietly developed a device it could use to track vehicles and charge drivers based on distance, routes and times of day they travel the state’s roadways.
    The $260,000 “black box,” built in cooperation with UNLV and UNR, is part of the state’s effort to find a better way to fund highway construction and maintenance. The Transportation Department wants to begin testing the boxes within the next year, but is encountering opposition from privacy advocates.
    The black boxes would represent a dramatic shift away from the gasoline and diesel taxes that have paid for publicly funded roads. But a change is necessary, officials say, because as vehicles have become more fuel efficient, the fuel tax hasn’t kept pace with infrastructure needs.
    The response from transportation policy experts has been to push a system that charges taxes based on vehicle miles traveled — or VMTs. This includes, in some locations, paying more for driving during peak times.
    But Rebecca Gasca, public advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the state’s proposal “raises huge red flags.” The group will oppose “any information-collecting method that would threaten individual privacy rights and allow the government to create an infrastructure for routine surveillance of citizens,” she said.

    The state Transportation Department will hold a public meeting today in Reno and another in late April in Las Vegas to discuss moving forward with a pilot program to test ways of tracking miles driven. The pilot program would offer volunteers a variety of options, including placement of one of the department’s black boxes in their vehicles.

    “We’d offer a range of alternatives — from odometer readings all the way up to full GPS units that could capture the time of day, the route you are on, the area you are in,” said Scott Rawlins, the Transportation Department’s deputy director. “At the end of the day, it will be the policymakers who ultimately determine what’s right for the public.”

    Zong Tian, an assistant professor at UNR, leads the team of researchers developing the black box. (The Transportation Department and the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County each contributed $100,000 to the project; the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada contributed $60,000. If they were manufactured for use in Nevada, state transportation officials say they would cost about $200-$500 each.)
    Tian said the device can be adjusted to accommodate “different levels of privacy protection: It could just be summary data — how many miles you drove on state highways, how many on local roads. It doesn’t have to track every second of movement.”

    While privacy advocates acknowledged many aspects of the proposal have yet to be resolved, Gasca said, “I doubt there will be any answers that mollify our privacy concerns.”
    Gasca said her group would support an annual odometer reading, but transportation policy experts note that would not tax out-of-state drivers for their use of Nevada’s roads.
    Still, the state’s effort to find an alternative to the gas tax does have its supporters.

    The Nevada Highway Users Coalition, which includes labor unions, public officials and construction company associations, said it supports moving forward with the VMT study.

    “There are a lot of concerns, but this is the beginning of a study,” said Buzz Harris, assistant executive director of the Nevada chapter of the Associated General Contractors. “This is the beginning of going through iterations of how this is going to come about. Obviously, our system is broken.”
    Nevada will face a $6 billion shortfall in highway infrastructure funding by 2016, according to Transportation Department estimates.

    Meanwhile, the state’s gasoline tax has remained at its current level of 23 cents — which includes local and state taxes — since 1992.
    Transportation consultants say that as cars become more fuel efficient, and hybrids and electric cars become more common, the share they pay for highway wear and maintenance declines.
    “We can have a debate for the next 45 years on privacy issues, it’s not even a worthy debate,” said Tom Skancke, a transportation consultant based in Las Vegas. “People worried about being tracked should give up their cell phones. Give up OnStar.

    “It’s a cultural shift, but we have to make it. Are people not going to like it? Absolutely.”
    Skancke said future federal transportation bills could include funding for VMT pilot programs, even though President Barack Obama has opposed such proposals.
    Rawlins said, “The bottom line is I believe a certain sector of the public out there does not mind. They utilize OnStar system in their vehicle. If they have an emergency, they want rescue officials to find them. They see a benefit.

    “Maybe we have an opt-in type system, where you might get a better rate per mile based on the technology you’re using.”
    The purpose of the pilot program is to accumulate enough data so the Legislature can make an informed policy decision.

    Paul Enos, CEO of the Nevada Motor Transport Association, said his group is primarily concerned about an increase in collection costs with a shift from a fuel tax to one based on tracking miles traveled.
    Collecting the current fuel tax requires low administrative overhead, he said, while pilot programs in other states have shown VMT systems to be costlier.
    Enos said right now, the administrative cost on fuel tax is just 2 1/2 cents on the dollar. Other states’ pilot programs have had costs of up to 20 percent.


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    This idea is total CRAP. I say if anyone has any ideas on how to combat this I'm willing to help.

    GoDSpeeD

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    Well, it seems that our "representation" is no longer that in this country, and for the time being, isn't much "we the people" can do to prevent laws from being made. So it seems to me that the solution is to figure out how to combat them once made (as well as continued opposition before of course). So, in this case, a well grounded piece of tin foil, or better yet a small Faraday Cage to prevent any GPS signal making it to the device. No GPS signal, no location, no location, no mileage or path, also no time of day from the GPS either.

    point freedom

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    Regular Member greengum's Avatar
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    It is the same crap they have been trying to sell for years and years. They try this all the time in different states. Just a greater control grid. The problem lies in almost all our elected officials. They are bought and paid for. The only way I see combating this and other problems is starting at the local level. Going to city council meetings and getting to know the sheriff. I know that a ton of towns got the patriot act over turned at the local level. The sad part is a lot of the US is a lot more concerned about American Idol and other things like trying to make their house payment then to care about losing liberty.

    I would be down to hand out flyers on this subject along with OC stuff with you guys anytime. Like the saying goes, freedom is not free and I have the luxury of donating some time for causes.

  5. #5
    Regular Member Remmy's Avatar
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    and we wonder where our money goes? to asinine projects like this. I dont know how many tree huggers out there were hooting and hollering for alternative fuels and soon as theres a trend with cars using less gas they want to tax us more on gas? I mean i can see a positive side to this as it could very well push alternative fuel markets farther to becoming a reality but im sorry we already pay high gas prices as it is. not to mention the privacy concerns, i have a huge issue with anyone outside of who i want to know where i go. I do believe the civil liberties union is all over this one so id say the best thing we could do is support the organization since it seems our votes dont count. I sure as hell wasnt asked if i wanted a national health care system.

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    Regular Member flagellum's Avatar
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    Best part of the whole thing:

    “At the end of the day, it will be the policymakers who ultimately determine what’s right for the public.”

    "You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence."
    -- Charles A. Beard
    XD(m) 9mm

  7. #7
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    flagellum wrote:
    Best part of the whole thing:

    “At the end of the day, it will be the policymakers who ultimately determine what’s right for the public.”
    "And at the end of their terms,it willultimately be the voters who will determine what's right for the voters." - My quote.

  8. #8
    Regular Member Remmy's Avatar
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    takemine2 wrote:
    flagellum wrote:
    Best part of the whole thing:

    “At the end of the day, it will be the policymakers who ultimately determine what’s right for the public.”
    "And at the end of their terms,it willultimately be the voters who will determine what's right for the voters." - My quote.
    Unfortunately sheeple out there that care too much about their hair color and peck size wont bother to end their terms.

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    Quoting Tom Skancke: “We can have a debate for the next 45 years on privacy issues, it’s not even a worthy debate,” said Tom Skancke, a transportation consultant based in Las Vegas. “People worried about being tracked should give up their cell phones. Give up OnStar"

    No, you idiot.This angers me. My cell phone is off unless I am using it and Ireally don't have a car with onstar in it because I don't want a GPS device in my car. However, this case is entirely different. You are talking about forcing people to have a gps locating device in their car that they may not want there. In other words you are forcing people to accept a gps tracking device in order to compy with the law. YOU ARE WRONG TO DO THAT!!!!

    The whole vehicle miles traveled plan stinks. I hate it. Why would anyone want a government tracking device in his vehicle that tracks his position 24 hours a day? Who knows what else the government will decide to do with this black box once they get it into your vehicle. Why not fine people everytime the speedometer goes 1 mile/hour over the limit? Who is going to put limits on this once the government smells more money? Why should I trust the government when I have already been screwed over numerous times? FORGET IT!!!

    If the gas tax is obsolete, I vote for a flat tax. Just add the amount that is needed to maintain roads to an income tax or sales tax and eliminate the gas tax and this stupid "black box" idea.

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    I heard on the news today that the vehicle miles traveled study lost it's funding and is not going to be performed (at least for the time being). I think part of the reason might be because of the negative feedback the study has received so far. Let's hope it stays this way.

    I'm sure they'll try again. Don't let get it implemented. Keep an eye on the issue, Call your representative, Tell others, Sign petitions, Hold opposition meetings, Do it all.

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