Infrastructure update

It looks like the U.S. Senate will likely vote on final passage of the infrastructure bill tomorrow. So please call your senators and tell them to oppose the infrastructure bill.

You can find your U.S. Senators’ contact information here.

Buried in the bipartisan infrastructure bill are two provisions ultimately empowering the federal government to monitor how many miles you drive in order to more “efficiently” tax drivers and collect more revenue for the highway trust fund.

The first provision authorizes federal grants to states to test feasibility of a “road user fee,” which means you would be taxed based on how much you drive. The second provision would establish a federal pilot program to test the feasibility of a national mileage tax.

A mileage tax could be implemented via a GPS tracking device that every car owner would be required to install on their car. New cars could be required to have the mileage tracking system already built into it. Other possibilities include increased use of traffic cameras, license plate readers, “e-z” road passes, and tolls.

As I wrote about similar provision in the House-passed infrastructure bill:

This could lead to the government tracking where you drive and how long you stay at any given place.

Some libertarians like this system because they see it as applying the “user pays” principle, since you’re assessed a tax only if you drive. The problem with this is you do not have an opportunity to select what roads you will use based on market competition. Instead, the amount you pay is chosen for you by the government. Plus, there is no guarantee your “fees” will only be used for the roads you actually drive on—much less that the fees will not be used for buses and landscaping projects in cities you will never visit.

Of course, the main problem with this proposal is the power the government will have to keep track of your location and driving habits.  Some of the libertarians that favor this proposal claim that the system can be implemented in a way that protects privacy by simply tracking mileage and not recording addresses. Even if this were true in theory, this is the same US Government that promised the income tax would “only apply to the rich,” the social security number would never be used for non-social security purposes, you can keep your doctor if you like your doctor, and the PATRIOT Act would only be used to target terrorists. So, can we really believe this new mileage surveillance system will only be used to track mileage?

That is why this mileage tax must be opposed by all who value liberty and privacy.

Remember to call your U.S. Senators and tell them to vote no on the infrastructure bill. You can find your senators’ contact information here.



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