Officials float Bay Area mileage tax

OAKLAND — San Francisco Bay Area officials are mulling the idea of charging motorists a tax on every mile they drive in the nine-county region as a way to raise money for roads and public transit while reducing traffic and pollution from car emissions.

Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments were scheduled to vote Thursday night on whether to approve a long-range study on the merits of imposing a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax.

Under a proposal still in its early stages that could take a decade or more to be launched, drivers would be required to install GPS-like odometers in their vehicles and pay from less than a penny to as much as a dime for every mile driven.

Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler acknowledged the concept could prove a hard sell with Bay Area residents, who would likely resist both the travel tax and the government-mandated tracking devices.

"We're not interested in where they go. We're only interested in the amount they travel," Rentschler told radio station KCBS (http://cbsloc.al/P17YAG). "But for some folks, that's a distinction without a difference. Anytime you talk about getting information from people, whenever that conversation comes up, it's another hurdle you have to overcome."

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