No Toll Roads

Period

Bob Niemeyer

 

I will NOT stand for toll roads in Oregon. There is no power anyplace, anywhere, or anytime that will change my mind on allowing toll roads in Oregon. This in one, of many, of the more important reasons that I am running for the 35th district of the House of Representatives of the State of Oregon.

Value Pricing is a hoax perpetrated on the wallets of Oregonians and is really a way to hide the fact that Democrat Party Leadership will not do anything about getting our fuel tax dollars spent on roads instead of increasing the size of government to better control our lives, our travel, and our freedoms.

Below is an outline of the reasons against toll roads. There are so many reasons that if they were all written out, no one would ever read them all.

  1. What makes anybody think that the money collected will go to roads?:
    1. Virtually no guarantees that the money will not go to light rail instead, or worse, to the general fund.
      1. There is no way that anybody, anywhere, anytime will be able to convince me that the State will not decide that the people driving could be better served by forcing them to ride a train instead of driving.
      2. Even if this were made a Constitutional Amendment that the money will only be for roads (Oh wait, there is one), we have all seen that there is always a way around that pesky Constitution. And remember that the Oregon Legislature found a way to unconstitutionally borrow money to “Fix Our Roads” instead of going with the cash flow of the gasoline taxes as they were collected.
      3. Do you really BELIEVE that the government will not find a way to spend the money elsewhere?
      4. Do you BELIEVE the money will NOT just go to PERS instead?
      5. $1 billion per mile for light rail. That would be far better spent on roads that follow the expansion of where the citizens of Oregon live and work.
      6. At $1 billion per mile, there is a lot of people getting a piece of the action than we will ever be allowed to know.
      7. Talk of 16¢ per gallon, is somehow slated to go to the general fund as part of the toll road bill. This is just a foothold to spending the money on whatever the government wants to.
    2. Just another temptation for the Legislature to spend the money elsewhere.
      1. Just feeding the addiction of spending other people’s money.
    3. Need the money for roads?
      1. Same old excuse to cover wasted tax dollars and the Democrat Party Leadership’s steadfast refusal to reduce the size of government.
    4. Taxing authority handed over to yet another Administrative Law branch of government?
      1. The Legislature will give the authority to the newly created toll road branch of government.
      2. Government’s idea of pricing will be far different than people’s ability to pay.
    5. Who is going to pay for the Sensors along-side the roads?
      1. Not too long ago, there was a series of questions about these stainless steel monoliths being installed in various places on the east coast. These were the tracking sensors.
      2. Once again, the people of Oregon are going to pay money to out of state companies for something we really do not want.
      3. This is really an east coast company juggernaut turning the people’s freedom and privacy into dollars in their pockets far before the dollars collected are turned in revenue for the State.
    6. What are the tax ramifications of paying tolls?
      1. Will I be able to deduct the cost of tolls in my business?
      2. Will I be able to deduct the cost of tolls from my personal income?
  1. Tracking and Privacy:
    1. The technology that is being talked about for the collecting the tolls is going to be a device that gets installed into your car.
      1. Who does the installation and who pays for this is anybody’s guess at this point in time.
      2. We must ask also, who gets paid to install the tracking device into your car? State authorized installers?
      3. Does everybody in the state have to get the device just because you might drive around Highway 205?
    2. The tracking device, they say, will only look at when the tracking device crosses over check points on the roads.
      1. Sensors will be added to detect and record your car going past.
      2. Those tracking devices and sensors will work but can be better accomplished with GPS.
    3. The tracking could be accomplished by a Global Positioning System (GPS) device that can be sensed as you pass by or could be used to track your car anyplace on earth.
      1. Those tracking devices and sensors will work but can be better accomplished with GPS.
      2. You can get GPS locators to find your stolen bicycle.
  1. We would be giving a powerful tool to a power crazed, power hungry, and power wielding government.
    1. Do not underestimate for one minute that the government(s) of today would not have already thought of the power that tolls and tracking could bring to bear on the People of Oregon and America
    2. We have all heard about hackers being able to turn off your car. The government will be able to do the same thing.
  1. Expansion and Privacy:
    1. Expansion of the system to collect money for where ever you go will happen. IT WILL BE EXPANDED TO EVERYWHERE!
      1. The State will be able to know where and when you travel to any place.
      2. The State will be able to collect information on you that could be used for something other than collecting tolls. i.e. Advertisement
      3. The system will be expanded to know where and when you travel even if the State does not collect revenues outside the zones that the system was intended.
      4. The cost of expanding the system will consume the revenues that was intended for use to build the roads that were promised.
    2. How is the State going to collect the money?
      1. Need a bank account or credit card just to drive?
      2. Can the State destroy your life for not paying the bill on time? Take your car? Jail? Turn you into a felon and be able to take away your rights? Turn off your car from space like hackers can?
    3. Could the sensors be used to collect money when you go to State Parks?
      1. There are so many other applications for the use of the sensors that the expansion for use elsewhere could not be contained.
  1. Can the tolls system be used to police the roads and issue a ticket for speeding?:
    1. If you pass checkpoint 1 and then pass checkpoint 2 that is 10 miles away and there is only 5 minutes between the time you pasted the two checkpoints, will the system tell the police that the you were driving at 120 mile per hour?
      1. Can that data be used to issue citations for speeding?
      2. The world already has a problem with hackers. This would be a form of “Cyber-Police” that could be used and misused far before any fixes to that kind of problem would be taken care of.
    2. Facing your accuser will be impossible.
      1. The accuser will be nothing more than a computer.
    3. Sensors could be used to collect parking information.
      1. Overstay your time and you could be sent a ticket.
  1. Exceptions granted. Something our Democrat Party Leadership Controlled Legislature loves to do:
    1. As we have all seen, there will be a push within a very short time to grant exceptions to having to pay the tolls.
    2. Usual exception for government employees. Just keep an eye on state motor pool vehicles.
    3. Usual exceptions for low income people would mean that everybody else would have to pay more.
    4. Could the tolls you pay wind up on Oregon Tax returns as a deductible item?
    5. Exceptions can work both ways.
      1. Higher tolls for car pools or company cars or trucks.
      2. If tolls are the responsible thing to do, then car pools should be free. Kind of like the HOV lanes were intended to get people to share rides.
    6. Always remember that for every exception granted, there will be a State agency with lots of State employees to keep track of and administer the exceptions.
      1. Paying State employees to keep track of exception granted will make sure that the money collected will not go to the roads as promised.
  1. Corruption Opportunities:
    1. The information for where and when you drive is valuable to advertisers.
      1. Advertisement that can be tailored just for you and the car you own.
      2. i.e. You will find out that you can buy a coffee cup meant for just your car? Same color as your car? Maybe even monogrammed?
      3. What about your name printed on a beach towel because you seem to frequently go to the coast?
      4. Someone, someplace, somewhere in government will sell that information under the table.
    2. Deals behind closed doors with auto companies and tracking device manufacturers.
      1. You can get GPS locators to find you stolen bicycle at a low enough cost that you can use your phone to find your property.
      2. By the time the government buys the same technology, the cost of the device will be at least 100 times more.
      3. Who gets paid to install the tracking device? How much will it really cost?
    3. The expansion cost of the system will consume the money collected for the roads.
      1. The companies that will be charged with development of the computers, software, and hardware will be the same people that gave us the health care disaster.
    4. The Sensors necessary to keep tabs on your whereabouts are being used on the east coast of America right now.
      1. Once again, Oregon will be paying out-of-state companies to come to Oregon to install the unnecessary technology. Just like Oracle, the State of Oregon will get involved and mess things up and force the cost way up and out of control.
      2. Money will go to back-east companies for hardware, software, maintenance and support.
      3. Money will go the government employees to run the system.
      4. Most if not all of the tolls collected and probably a good deal of extra money will be needed to get the system working.
    5. Can a criminal get his hands on a sensor or a simple phone app that would allow the criminal to detect where a car may have come from and be able to assess the likelihood of valuables being in your car?
  1. No exit clause:
    1. What if the system proves to be a failure?
      1. Always remember that there is no cost great enough to the People of Oregon that will cause the government to admit is was wrong about doing anything.
      2. What if the dollars collected are consumed by the system instead of going to the counties for road maintenance and new construction? What percent is acceptable before someone can say “shut it down”?
      3. My guess is that less than 20% of the revenues collected will be sent out to the Counties.
  1. Privacy:
    1. I can-NOT stress this point enough!
      1. Do you want the State to know everything about where and when you travel?
    2. Is the state so starved for money that the information could be sold to people that would then tailor advertisement for you and your car?
      1. Maybe monogrammed coffee cup that matches the fabric inside the car.
    3. Tracking your whereabouts may not always be used for tolls, but the information can and will be used against you.
      1. What if you go to the beach? Will there be a tax collected because you went to a State Park?
    4. Can a criminal with a sensor of their own that can tell where your car came from be used to determine if there could be are more valuables available to steel from your car?
    1. What if you go out of state? Can the tracking be used to collect money in another state for another state?
      1. Could the information also be given or sold to the Federal Government?
      2. Would other states that have toll roads be able to collect money from you for driving in their States?
  1. What about the congestion on all of the side streets that would result from people not wanting to pay the toll?
  2. The cost will be high.
    1. I Heard some estimates of $8.00 to drive on 205 during peak hours of the mystical “Value Pricing” tolling system.
    2. Would create a new taxing authority in Oregon that would be granted the ability to increase the tolls without voter approval.
      1. Yes, our Legislature has been granting taxing authority to unelected bureaucratic entities to do the Legislature’s Constitutionally required job of being the only taxing authority.
  1. Miscellaneous:
    1. DVM
      1. Will they be charging a fee to make sure that your tracking device is working?
      2. When you get the DEQ check, will part of the inspection be installing a new battery into the tracking device? At what cost?
    2. Radiation
      1. If the tracking device is one that does not need a battery, then the amount of power that is needed to energize the tracker will be very large and aimed right at your car and you.

What I believe we should do:

  1. Traffic used to be measured around the State with counters that are able to sense when a car goes by. That is what the little rubber tubes are you see now and then stretch across the road. Or in the case of some freeways, they look like a short speed bump in the middle of each lane.
  1. An allocation system to return the dollars to the Counties where the fuel was consumed.
    1. The volume of traffic would be used to allocate the road funds as they follow the expansion of where people live.
    2. Average dollars per mile collected via gasoline taxes would then be assigned to the location of the roads being used by the Counties.
      1. Yes, you could call this a County Entitlement System.
    3. Take the allocation of funds out of the hands of the Legislature and into the hands of something like a “Secretary of Transportation” with the authority to send the money back to the counties.
      1. The only Legislative control allowed would be the percent taken away for other projects such as a new Columbia River Bridge. A percentage that would be out in the open for all of the People to see.
  1. How to handle Electric Cars:
    1. One time flat rate on the purchase of an electric car that covers the road cost for the life of the car.
      1. Assuming about 25 miles per gallon and 150,000 life on a car, 6000 gallons of fuel would be consumed by a fuel burning car.
      2. At 31¢ per gallon, that comes to $1860 of taxes. Tacking that on to an electric car tax, and only one time is a good way to go. No government paid employees out to collect the taxes.
    2. A drawback to this is getting the State to put these dollars someplace that would grow and pay into the road funds for the long term.
    3. Does anybody believe that could ever be done?
    4. You pay taxes on the electricity you use as well!
    5. Maybe the road tax should be based on the batteries and their replacement as they wear out.

There are out-of-state companies working their way across America that already have their hands in the coffers of tolls system in the United States. Why should Oregon have to become another? The answer: Because the Democratic Party Leadership will continue to tax Oregonians out of existence before they will even consider cutting back on the size of government. And do not forget PERS. The all-consuming revenue sinkhole that the Democrat Party Leadership has refused to do anything about for more than 20 years!

We have one of the highest gasoline taxes in the Nation. If the money could just get to the roads again, this State would be in great shape.

Bob Niemeyer
June 6, 2018

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