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USA: Bay Area studying taxing the miles we drive: good idea or worst idea?

In some ways, taxing people for the miles they drive makes sense. After all, we need money to keep roads in good shape and it already happens today, indirectly, through gasoline taxes. But when anyone talks about taxing the miles directly – i.e., through a mileage or “vehicle miles traveled” tax – hackles get raised.

Nonetheless, a new VMT tax is being proposed in the San Francisco Bay area, where officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments just approved studying how a per-mile tax would affect revenue, pollution and traffic. The study will look at rates between a penny and a dime a mile. The Mercury News figures that, at the higher end, the tax could raise up to $15 million a day. The study will last through January and the commission could vote on it next April.
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