Vail Daily’s view: Taxing motorists by mileage is a very bad idea |

Vail Daily’s view: Taxing motorists by mileage is a very bad idea

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

When pondering Big Problems, it’s easy to dream of Big Solutions. Some are insightful and inspired.

Others are just, well, bad.

This week’s bad idea is being floated by Democrats in the Colorado Legislature, pondering the Big Problem of how to fix the state’s roads and bridges.

The usual ideas are being bandied about ” increased vehicle-registration fees, expanded authority for toll roads and the like. But the whopper is taking a page from the transportation/social engineering notebook of (sigh) Oregon, an idea that would charge people for the miles they drive.

(As an aside, we fervently wish for the day when Oregon transportation planners aren’t regarded as visionaries. In their jihad against the private automobile, they’ve actually torn up roads and, subsequently, created some of the worst traffic in the United States.)

It’s hard to know where to begin on this profoundly bad idea, but we’ll start with something allegedly near and dear to Democrats’ hearts: average working families.

People on the lower end of the middle class ” those who wonder why Big Media is just getting around to noticing the “recession diet” of beans, ground beef and canned tomatoes ” are the folks who, by and large, live some distance from where they work.

These are the “drive till you qualify” folks, people who had to balance how far they were willing to commute with their desire to own a place of their own.

These people are among the folks feeling the most stress in today’s economy.

Charging extra fees to someone who drives 300 miles a week just to commute ” which you do if you live in Gypsum and work in Eagle-Vail ” strikes us as unfair at its heart.

We understand the need for the state to find more money for transportation funding. The needs are great, and the cash is slim. But let’s find a better big idea than privacy-robbing initiatives that also put an even tighter squeeze on people already feeling a lot of pressure.

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