Dori: Pay-per-mile tax the fight of our financial lives
For 20 years, I have closely chronicled the tsunami that is going to crash over every single family in Washington. On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington State Transportation Commission is voting on this tsunami in the form of a pay-per-mile tax — the next step in making every single road in the region a toll road.
People have accused me in the past of hyperbole. They say, “No way, Monson — there’s no way that could ever come true. They cannot toll every road.” But 20 years ago, in 1999, I told you it was the state’s 20-year-plan. I had the documents. A mole in the planning meetings passed them to me. And here we are, 20 years later, and it is unfolding exactly like I said it would.
This Tuesday it is happening. They are voting on the plan to make every road a toll road.
Now, they don’t call it that of course. They’re calling it a pay-per-mile tax. You see, people are being so efficient with electric and hybrid cars that the state is losing its gas tax revenue. (Never mind that we have the second-highest gas tax in the country.) So they are pitching this pay-per-mile plan to make up for that.
No doubt they’ll tell us that they’ll just do an odometer reading at a government location once a year. But that is not what they are going to do. I’ll tell you how they’re going to read your mileage.
You know those commercials for the Seattle Tunnel that encourage you to get a GoodToGo pass? Why do you think there is this massive ad campaign to get a transponder in your vehicles? It’s because the eventual goal is to have a transponder in every single vehicle. This is the way to slowly get you comfortable with the idea. Then they will be able to track every inch you travel.
Do you trust partisan politicians like Bob Ferguson not to abuse that wealth of data they will collect through those transponders? He could get information about where people he disagrees with travel. I have no doubt he would abuse the privilege.
Furthermore, the state will not eliminate the gas tax. It won’t be a trade-off. It will be an increase only. Then once they get the transponder in there, they will charge you more for driving during rush hour. They will charge you more for driving in high-demand, congested locations, like downtown. They’ll track your transponder and automatically take the money out of your bank account.
This is what is being debated Tuesday afternoon in Olympia. I want your help. I want your pledge. Together, you and me, this is going to be the fight of our financial lives. Once they get this pay-per-mile tax in place, you will see families soaked for as much as thousands of dollars a year. It will hit you. The social engineering part of this is that they hate cars, and want everyone forced, out of financial necessity, to abandon their cars and take light rail.
We must not allow tolling every inch of every road to happen. We are in this for the long run. We will storm the streets. We will march to the Capitol. We must not let this happen.
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