from albany democrat herald: A year ago, the Oregon Department of Transportation announced it had demonstrated that a new way to pay for roads – via a mileage tax and satellite technology – could work.
Now Gov. Ted Kulongoski says he’d like the legislature to take the next step.
As part of a transportation-related bill he has filed for the 2009 legislative session, the governor says he plans to recommend “a path to transition away from the gas tax as the central funding source for transportation.”
What that means is explained on the governor’s website: “As Oregonians drive less and demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, it is increasingly important that the state find a new way, other than the gas tax, to finance our transportation system.”
When the task force’s study and test were in the news in 2006 and 2007, critics worried that the technology could be used to track where vehicles go, not just how far they travel, and that this information would somehow be stored by the government.
In more than one interview with the Democrat-Herald and others, James Whitty, the ODOT official in charge of the project, tried to assure the public that tracking people’s travels was not in the plans.