In Oregon, new legislation is up to replace the old, outdated, and failing gas tax in the state with a modern mileage tax, which would essentially mark where you drive at any given time and record the mileage via a GPS placed in all new Oregon vehicles. You would then pay the fees collected at the gas pump.

The legislation is still pending review, and it could take years before its enacted (if it is enacted), but one of the main supporters is Democratic governor Ted Kulongoski, who is known for his anti-big-brother policies in his tenure as governor. This comes as a big surprise to many privacy advocates who are in an uproar over this proposed legislation.

This is a way to try to develop a fair funding mechanism that we’re going to have to have if we’re going to be aggressive in terms of looking at electric cars and hybrids and plug-ins and all those options, and at the same time continue to invest in our roads and infrastructure,” said Rem Nivens, the governor’s deputy communications director.

The state of Oregon plans on spending $650 million in transportation and infrastructure projects next year, a smaller version of president-elect Barack Obama’s plan to stimulate the economy by invigorating the transportation industry in the United States. This comes in the face of the state’s $10 million shortfall in its transportation budget, and it looks like things can only get worse.

Many people are wondering just how the government can think to propose this legislation. Not only would they be spying on us, watching where we drive and how far we drive, and then charging us for it. Some would say that’s a bit too 1984ish for us, but others disagree, including Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski.

And don’t forget the many rural residents who live east of the Cascades, who typically must drive many miles just to get to the grocery store. But the state also has incentives for companies to develop alternative energy vehicles, and many vehicle manufacturers are jumping at the chance. Portland has an incredibly high ratio of electric vehicles, and the number continues to grow as the years go on. Many people are calling this the great boondoggle of 2009, and the results remain to be seen.

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Oregon DOT / DMV