Another Opinion: Pay-per-mile plan rears ugly head again
Sometimes, the state of Nevada acts like a little kid, forgetting “no” means “no.”
One year ago this month, Gov. Jim Gibbons’ Spending and Government Efficiency (SAGE) Commission recommended a proposal that angered Nevada motorists in every part of the Silver State.
The SAGE Commission wanted every Nevada motorist to shoulder the burden of funding highways, and it wanted a pilot program to test user fees based on the number of miles a motorist drives.
Nevada Department of Transportation Director Susan Martinovich said newer cars and hybrid vehicles are using less gas, thus causing a plunge in fuel taxes. An idea that has resurfaced is replacing the current fuel tax with a fee based on the number of miles a motorist drives.
NDOT proposes to work with both the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV to study how a system to tax miles driven could work. The brainstorming hasn’t stopped there. Other ideas include taking odometer readings during annual vehicle registration, including cards inside vehicles that automatically store mileage data or placing global positioning systems into cars that would record the number of miles and time of day traveled.
Talk about Big Brother at work.
Evidently, the NDOT has been afflicted with short-term memory, forgetting the backlash the SAGE Commission encountered from both motorists and legislators in 2009. This plan would place an unfair burden on rural residents and those who must commute daily between Carson City and Reno or other communities.
Also missing from any plan is how to share the burden with out-of-state motorists who use our highways.
NDOT must return to the drawing board and devise a proposal that spreads out some of the pain for maintaining highways.
Until it does, Nevadans’ pain tolerance will not be able to withstand the state’s constant gouging.