Yes, this has its problems. It assumes that drivers can read the odometers on their cars and are capable of subtracting the old mileage figure from the new one. Then drivers must be capable of multiplying two numbers.
These elementary school tasks are already performed by those who file the state income tax form.
“But won’t people cheat?” you may rightfully ask. Of course they will, just as they cheat on their state and federal income tax. But odometer readings could be checked and recorded when drivers are stopped for some other offense.
Annual self-reporting is preferable to a system whereby a device is placed in your car to record and report where you are driving at what hour. These monitors are a threat to privacy already in use as the “EZ-Pass” or “I-Pass” on toll roads.
We are going to have to find a new way to fund our roads; it shouldn’t mean a radical change in our lives.
Morton J. Marcus is an economist, writer and speaker formerly with the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. He can be reached at email@example.com.