I was listening to The Survival Podcast from Monday, the listener feedback show. A listener linked an article about a proposed traffic study to take place in the Bay area of California. This study would look at the feasibility of charging drivers based on mileage, where each vehicle would have a tracking device installed in them and be tracked by roadside reading devices. This plan has been touted as a way to reduce traffic and pollution, as well as raise much needed funds for local government coffers. It is no secret that many cities in California are declaring bankruptcy and the state itself is getting close to the brink as well. The layers of government are trying to find new and tricky ways to sell the citizens with hidden taxes based on security and the environment. Why am I talking about a situation that is happening in California? Well if you haven't noticed, we tend to emulate our neighbors to the south on things such as the environment, taxation and the like.
Our own "Carbon Tax" has been around since 2008. Besides raising the price of gasoline at the pumps, significant changes to our driving habits have not happened. I see huge V-8 pick up trucks on the road constantly. We use a lot of gas and diesel, as well as natural gas and heating oil, in our daily lives. Our infrastructure is set up for vehicle traffic. We have sprawled out from cities to make a daily commute of a half an hour or more a normal thing. Using lots of gas, thus giving the Provincial government a pile of tax money. I know the Carbon Tax is supposed to be a neutral tax, with cuts to our personal income taxes to make up for it. The idea is if you use less fossil fuel then you save on taxes and that puts more money in your pocket. Fair enough. I like the idea of consumption taxes. We should have more of them. We should have a consumption sales tax in communities to contribute to paying for landfills and recycling. If you haven't thought about all the trash that increases in an area when a box store opens, maybe you should. New products replace old ones that end up where? You guessed it. All the packaging and shipping containers need to be recycled, costing lots of money. Where does it come from? From us, each and everyone, even if you buy very little.
I am getting off topic. The idea of a tracking device in a vehicle is already here. Toll bridges, like the new Port Mann over the Fraser River between Surrey and Coquitlam, you can have a tracking tag that is affix to your vehicle. Every time you pass the sensor it registers you and a bill comes once a month, or your credit card is charged. That is all fine, it speeds up the traffic. Stopping and physically paying an attendant takes time and can cause delays. Now what if the municipalities decided that a way to add revenue for transit could be to tack on another dollar every time you cross the bridge. Maybe not on the bridge, but once you enter the municipalities borders? Okay fine, we need more transit to get people out of their cars. I can handle that. What if you accidentally speed while in this town and pass their sensor. Pretty easy technology can track how fast you are travelling. No more looking for ghost cars. Then you have been tracked driving 50 kilometers around the city. More charges? This is all an easy thing for municipalities to implement once they convince the residents that it is the only way. Governments can spin things so fast it will make you head spin and before you know it we are getting charged a kilometer based levy. To pay for road improvement, for transit, for green initiatives? Not bloody likely. It will be to raise money to help get the governments out of debt.
With Big Agriculture lobbying all levels of government and telling them what is good for us to eat, we have epidemic levels of modern diseases. Diabetes, some cancer, auto immune diseases, obesity, and heart disease can be a product of eating this modern agricultural diet. We are eating ourselves sick and the government subsidizes these corporations who create the poison we put in our mouths. Then we pay through the nose to help people get better with our health care costs. Our measly little contribution to health care that we make monthly is peanuts compared to the true costs. And we pay for those in our income, property, sales, and other hidden taxes like fees and licensing. More and more jobs take place in front of a computer with less and less physical effort. Another contributor to an unhealthy society.
Where am I going with this? Of course to the bicycle. I am worried about big brother getting involved in my life, tracking my where abouts and taxing me for going on a road trip. One reason to ride a bike. You will save the cost of fuel, tolls, carbon taxes and in the future mileage tax. The government needs to finance infrastructure for us on two wheels. It doesn't mean building segregated bike lanes everywhere, costing a fair amount on themselves. I propose using less busy streets, signed as commuter routes, to keep interactions between busy traffic and bicycles. Arterials for bicycles in and out of an area would be good, between communities. Bicycle infrastructure cost one 10th of what is built for autos. These are great investments for the future. Eventually we will have gasoline and diesel that will be to expensive for average people to purchase, and it will be needed to move products not people.
By promoting bicycles as a safe, viable transportation model that is cheap for everyone, needs no corporate subsidies, does not pollute and can help to reduce our overall size of the residents(in terms of mass not population).
And a side note. I heard that if you put up a "No Smart Meter" sign on your house, you WILL get a smart meter. BC Hydro will not allow people to keep the old ones for long. Maybe a year? Probably not long, and apparently once they come back to install the smart meter, you will be charged to have the meter put in whether you like it or not. Sorry to say, but if you were stealing power from the utility for a grow op, which smart meters are supposed to be able to pin point, wouldn't you say no to a smart meter? Just saying......