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Pay-As-You-Drive In The Netherlands

2011/08/27

In certain parts of North America (including my home province of Québec), transportation infrastructure is literally crumbling.  The good news is, repairing that infrastructure is a useful way to create employment.  The bad news is, you need money to do those repairs.  So should we stick to gas taxes or is there a better (more fair) way to get income for infrastructure?

According to the government of the Netherlands, a pay-as-you-drive fee seems like a better way to go.  That is why they are experimenting with a system that uses a wireless internet connection and a GPS to calculate your fee according to the distance you drive, the fuel economy of your vehicle, where you drive (busier roads cost more) and the time of day (rush hour vs not-rush hour).

There are many advantages to this system.  First, the charge you pay more accurately reflects your impact on infrastructure.  Additionally, this vehicle miles traveled (VMT) fee system would be a way to receive revenue from electric car owners who avoid fuel taxes.  Finally, a simple taxi-cab like meter in your car displays your fee in real-time.  Such a visual indicator is bound to affect the way and the amount that people drive.

The system does have “big brother” feel, but it is very similar to how your cellular phone charges are calculated.  And no one seems to have a problem with that.

Any thoughts?

Source: grist.org

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