Maine Launches Study to Track Drivers via GPS

by on July 22, 2009 · 14 comments

From the Portland Press Herald:

Wanted: 250 Maine drivers willing to let a stranger put a black box under their dashboard.

The reward: $895 and the opportunity to speak their minds about the highway tax experiment to a researcher.

University of Iowa researchers are seeking 250 motorists in Cumberland, York and Sagadahoc counties willing to have a computer tracking system installed in their cars for 10 months. The system could someday be used to tax drivers according to the number of miles they drive, rather than the amount of gasoline they consume.

This is not only gets the award for most Orwellian government program of the week, but also the irony in incentives bonus prize. The new tax is meant to make up for the loss in gas revenue from more fuel efficient cars and folks using less gas during the recession. In doing so, this black-box tax would essentially be punishing motorists for driving more efficient cars, which is supposed to be a goal of the gas tax (other than raising revenue).

Bottom line: If you need more money for highways, build more tolls or raise the gas tax, don’t track your citizens.

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