Here’s an interesting idea posted in the News and Observer, which basically means you pay tax based on the number of vehicle-miles you use. They asked for comments, so here’s mine:
If this idea were implemented in isolation, it could be a good idea. In other words, it must be an "instead of" proposition, not an "addition to" proposition. We should definitely be using more pay-per-use systems. But it has to be a discreet system. Bureaucrats have a knack for adding a good idea to a lot of bad ideas, which renders the good idea inert — and amounts only another means of bleeding people of resources. So why pile an additional tax onto the current taxation system, even if it – in isolation – seems fairer?
Overhauling the revenue side must come with an overhaul of the distribution side. Gross distortions in allocations have dogged NC since the Equity Distribution formula was created. Places that need resources get them, while places losing drivers – (like Eastern NC for example) – get more roads. This system is broken. We need to be more efficient with allocation more than we need new revenue streams. We already spend 10 times what SC spends per capita on roads, and yet they rank much higher than we do on most performance measures. In short, we must think about this holistically. (Allocate by projected vehicle miles, collect by vehicle miles.)