Podcast 278

Vehicle Mileage Tax. Minnesotans were shocked and dismayed this week to learn their state is one of 18 considering passing something called a VMT; A Vehicle Mileage Tax. A GPS locating device would be attached to cars, and drivers would be taxed according to the number of miles they drive. While ‘sources’ say the VMT would replace the state gasoline tax, at an average of 34 cents, that would depend on individual state legislatures and the wording of bills in those respective states. How many Minnesotans would bet the state would ‘replace’ the state gas tax with the VMT? More than likely a reduction in the state gas tax would be combined with a  VMT. Advancing this story requires some research on why states spent as much as 150 percent of their gas tax dollars, and Podcast 278 provides the details. Is government efficiently spending transportation dollars? Is government spending transportation dollars on roads? Is government allowing tests of alternative methods of funding roads? Will bicycle riders have to wear GPS devices and pay a VMT too? Why not? What about the privacy issues related to GPS devices placed on the cars of citizens. States will argue ‘driving is a privilege’, and ‘you already have GPS tracking on your cell phone’. Will those arguments be good enough to prevent, or withstand a constitutional challenge if VMT’s are passed? What about ‘intermodal’ and ‘modal’ forms of transportation. How much of the transportation budget is sucked up by commuter rail, light rail, passenger rail, high speed rail and street cars, buses, and bike trails? Can Minnesotans depend on a Republican majority in Saint Paul to vote against this kind of tax. (Editor’s Note: Hint…um…No.) Is this an opportunity for birds of a different feather to flock together and defeat the measure if it is offered in the state house? These kinds of taxes, and so called infrastructure projects, controlled by central planners, rubber stamped by career politicians, create sclerotic bureaucracies and governments with too much centralized control. What strategies might be used effectively to defeat ideas like the VMT, and throw politicians who support them out of government, for good. Sponsored by Ryan Plumbing and Heating of Saint Paul

Podcast 165

Take a ride on the near deserted Minneapolis to Saint Paul Light Rail ‘Green’ Line. A little more than a week ago, the new LRT line between downtown Minneapolis and downtown Saint Paul opened to wide acclaim. As many as seventy five thousand people took advantage of a free ride on a train, while the local media gushed about the line’s ‘success’. Will this billion dollar project be a success? Have increases in federal and state funding for these kinds of projects in cities all over America produced higher levels of ridership? Do these LRT lines attract ‘investment’ or are tax dollars displaced to ‘subsidize’ development? Is the ‘creative class’ moving into downtown areas? Are companies moving into downtown areas? What about the transportation needs of industry and commerce, and the smaller cities in the state. Are you ready for a substantial increase in state and federal gas taxes to support these projects in the future? Sponsored by Edelweiss Design

Podcast 66

Lots of talk these days about the US Congress and the Federal Government. When the State Legislatures are back in session, there will be a lot of talk about what they are doing to us. But what about your local government? Town and cities? And what about your local School Boards. Someone has to run these local government entities. I hosted a local government forum in New Brighton, Minnesota recently, and learned they’re dealing with the same issues as the Federal and State governments. It reminds me, at the local level, citizens can have a big impact. All you have to do is get involved. Sponsored by www.Xgovernmentcars.com.