In a provision tucked in the Omnibus Transportation bill, Article 1, section 3, in 2007, the Minnesota Legislature approved $5 million for a pilot project for a future replacement for the gas tax. That pilot project is now being implemented by MnDot.
MnDot and other state agencies are finding its revenue stream short of its funding. With the gas tax, a major source of revenue has been declining based on the increase of gas prices and the change in driving habits and purchases of vehicles.
What the Legislature approved is basically to install a sophisticated GPS tracker to allow MnDot and maybe the Revenue Department to track where you drive and how often for tax purposes.
There has been legislation introduced by Rep. Beard that puts the “MnDot Guide Star IntelliDrive-Mileage Based User Program” project into action by classifying data collected for this program either private or nonpublic.
This legislation protects the data from public access, but may not necessarily from other government and state agencies. Very personal data, as to where you go, what you may be doing, when, how you got there, are among the details and inferences that could be gotten. Law enforcement entities among others would like to have this data for their own purposes.
Is the proposed legislation enough for the protection of this kind of data? No
There can be tighter protection/guidelines and a specific section for how law enforcement can get access to this kind of data.
The idea of mileage based revenue has been on the radar and supported by people who are GOP and DFL, locally and nationally. Recently, a Congressional Budget Office report even stated mileage based revenue as a “practical option.”
Brought to my attention an item which I missed in the post. I missed the fact the MnDot mileage based revenue project relies on volunteers for the pilot project.
After posting, there was editing/clarifying of last paragraph.