Lawmakers are proposing black boxes to be installed in future car models to track mileage. America’s road planners are currently struggling to find cash to mend a crumbling highway system and some are proposing a „tax per mile” as a solution. The device would fit on the dashboard and would track a driver’s mileage, and then the mileage would be tallied up before a tax bill was sent to the driver at the end of the year.
This technology comes to replace the current „gas tax” which has proved to be non-effective. It has not been raised more than 20 years; plus each car could go different miles with the same amount of gas – those are some of the arguments supporting the idea. “This works out as the most logical alternative over the long term” says Lee Munnich, a transportation policy expert at the University of Minnesota. But many are concerned that a device like that would give the government another way of tracking citizens. “Concerns about Big Brother and those sorts of things are a major problem,” said Alauddin Khan, who directs strategic and performance management at the Nevada Department of Transportation. “It was not something people wanted.” There might be a solution. A small California company, called True Mileage has a device that could go in the place of a black box but does show the car’s location. It was originally designed as a way of paying car insurance “per mile”. This technology doesn’t use GPS and only uploads limited amount of information using a modem. “People will be more willing to do this if you do not track their speed and you do not track their location,” said Ryan Morrison, chief executive of True Mileage. The U.S. Senate approved a $90 million pilot project last year that would have involved some 10,000 cars. But the House leadership killed the proposal. Several states are going ahead anyway – Nevada, New York, Oregon and Illinois developed different strategies for testing the technology. The I-95 Coalition, which includes 17 state transportation departments along the Eastern Seaboard (including Florida), is studying how they could go about implementing the change.