Taking the Back Way Home
07 November 2012
Would you stick to side roads if you knew that hitting the motorway would push you into a higher tax bracket? It's a question you may have to consider if government officials go with the proposed “two-tier” tax system. Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) would be increased for those who spent more time commuting on main roads.
With gas prices high, many drivers have switched to more efficient vehicles that don't require as much fuel. This has significantly reduced revenue for Britain's transport funding. After reviewing the transport funding, government officials realized that this move to cars that produce less pollution will cut revenue by 100 million pounds per year across the next few years. That moved them to search for an alternate revenue source. People were willing to change what kind of car they drive, but will they change which roads they drive on? And if so, what will the consequence be in traffic?
There's no word yet on what the difference between the tax tiers will be. Perhaps the taxation amount would not be enough to force drivers off motorways. Also, keep in mind that this is just one of the ideas that officials are playing around with to try and keep revenue in the current 6 billion pound range.
Another concern is that the tax would add even greater surveillance to the public as all vehicles would need to be monitored for motorway use to determine the proper VED owed. Your license plate would be photoed and compared to a database to determine your current tax rate.
Obviously, this has not been a super popular idea, and for many reasons. One concern is that it may drive commuters to take back roads and cause congestion across the countryside, while also being expensive to maintain motorways which will go underused. Some are concerned that it will cause a class system to develop on the roadways with an upper class paying the extra tax to have open road on motorways and a poorer class stuck in traffic on back roads. But again, that would depend on the difference in tax rates.
Don't forget that all of this is just one of several ideas being considered. Other suggestions include extra tax on high polluting engines and a tax break for those with economical engines. Time will tell what government officials decide.
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