I’m attending the Preserving the American Dream Conference in Bellevue, Washington. This morning I presented on a panel with Sam Staley of the Reason Foundation, and Greg Cohen of the American Highway Users Alliance. One issue discussed was Vehicle Miles Traveled fee as a revenue source for roads. As Dr. Staley, noted, it’s a subject of live debate.
The virtues: VMT fees are based on the principle of user pays, and is now technologically possible with Satellite tracking and GPS systems. The fear is that VMT systems will allow government to monitor driving habits, speeds, and pinpoint your whereabouts.
But as Alan Pisarski raised during the discussion – it’s who owns the data (and what they do with it) that really matters. If the provider is private, and not public, then the VMT poses the same level of privacy invasion as using a credit card.