Rep. intros bills to protect driver privacy with Democrats’ pay-per-mile plan

Feb 4, 2020, 6:09 AM
pay per mile tax, gas tax...

If you are concerned over the pay-per-mile plan that Democrats are pushing, State Representative Jesse Young has a plan to keep it measured. The Republican from Gig Harbor just introduced two new bills and two constitutional amendments in order to protect the privacy rights of drivers. He joined The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss why he felt the bills were necessary.

“If we’re going to have a conversation about transitioning to some type of taxing policy that could invade your privacy, I think we need to ease every Washingtonian’s concern about privacy, by saying you can never track anybody based off the way they drive. In this case, no GPS transponders, no type of technology could load on your cell phone, nothing you could install in your car,” he said.

“Take it all off the table and say, ‘Listen, if you’re just wanting to transition the way that we tax from a gas tax to a vehicle miles traveled or a road usage charge, we’re going to make sure that everyone knows upfront that the Legislature is going to bind itself into an agreement that says we can never track where you drive and we’re never going to invade your privacy, period.”

Could be ‘several decades’ before pay-per-mile tax takes effect

In an effort to move away from a state gas tax, in December the Washington State Transportation Commission adopted recommendations for a road usage charge or pay-per-mile system. These are just recommendations, and while there is no timeline for a transition, the commission recommended that it shouldn’t occur for at least 10 years and “likely several decades as many cars continue to pay the gas tax,” according to a news release.

As Jason asked, are these bills just a roundabout way of killing the pay by the mile plan, because how it would it work otherwise?

“Well, that’s the best part. I waited to drop these with the leadership of the Republican transportation committee that I’m on until after the transportation commission had come and presented their pilot program results to us. So the best part is out there, they’re all on committee testifying that this could be implemented other ways.”

‘Pay-per-mile’ system clears major hurdle

“We can do it through a odometer readings,” he continued. “There are a lot of other options that they actually proved out in the pilot program.”

How do we ensure that there’s equity in the communities that would be served by the dollars? There are a lot of folks in Seattle who don’t actually drive, and the concern is always that they get a disproportion amount of money for transportation projects.

“I’m all for equity that Seattle talks about a lot of, I’d be happy for registration fees for bicycles if you want to go that route, since they’re taking a lot of our driving dollars and gas tax dollars,” he said.

“In terms of how the money would get allocated, all of the money from the 18th Amendment protections would go just like it currently is with the gas tax, would go into the motor vehicle fund, and it would be dedicated to roads and maintenance, period. It’s who you elect that would dictate where it goes.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter.

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Rep. intros bills to protect driver privacy with Democrats’ pay-per-mile plan