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VMT Taxes In Maryland

Maryland Lawmakers Against VMT Tax

Privacy advocates everywhere were upset when states such as Oregon began the process of implementing a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax to pay for rising road maintenance costs. The reason why privacy advocates are upset is because in order to calculate the miles traveled per vehicle tax GPS trackers would have to be used to determine historical driving activity. This would give government agencies not only access to mileage driving records but all driving activity and that is where the concern rests. Although many states are pursuing this method of taxation while many others are turning a simple blind eye, elected officials located in Carroll County Maryland are taking a radically different approach that has both their constituents and privacy advocates excited. This is because the officials are pushing a bill known as 682 that would essentially ban the state of Maryland from establishing any form of VMT tax that would equip GPS tracker devices upon automobiles.

Justin Ready, one of the republicans behind House Bill 682, explained that any form of VMT tax would essentially violate privacy rights of Marylanders, but if lawmakers were not proactive that the Department of Transportation could very likely introduce such a measure within the next ten years. Another concern Ready had was that some of the states looking to adopt a VMT program that uses GPS tracking would do so in lieu of current fuel taxes. Whereas Maryland officials wanted to have a VMT tax in addition to the current gas taxes motorists already pay at the pump. Another proponent of HB 682 is Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild who has been on record speaking about his concern over any program that uses GPS satellite technology to monitor not only mileage but potentially all vehicle traveling activity. Rothschild would go onto state that using GPS tracking devices as the tool to calculate driver mileage,”constitutes a gross violation of [Marylanders] Fourth Amendment rights.” Ready also emphasized the concern Rothschild publicly stated by also explaining that VMT tax plans that call upon the use of real-time GPS trackers could have much greater and far-reaching implications. It would have the potential to create a more Big Brother society where all Marylanders are under greater government surveillance. Ready would later explain that HB 682 would be instrumental in safeguarding the privacy rights of Marylanders by preventing the state from having endless power of how it chooses to monitor citizens because of the advanced and detailed information provided by real-time GPS tracking devices. Do you believe VMT taxes would infringe on Fourth Amendment rights of Marylanders? Would you be okay with your state placing a GPS tracker system on your automobile to record driving activity?

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