City, County to Consider $300,000 Study that Supports a New Tax on Vehicle Miles Traveled

City, County to Consider $300,000 Study that Supports a New Tax on Vehicle Miles Traveled

At this Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, elected officials will consider spending approximately $300,000 on a study that will provide support for the establishment of a new tax based on vehicle miles traveled. The tax is called a mobility fee.

The cost of the study would be shared with the Leon County Board of County Commissioners.

The new idea, which is being considered in different formats around the country, is designed to provide a regulatory tool which will  give policy makers the ability to direct and control growth.

In addition, the approach is also seen as a way to increase revenue for transportation infrastructure. Over the last 15 years, the collection of revenue from gasoline taxes has declined due to increasing fuel efficiency in automobiles.

Based on the documents provided by City staff, it appears the mobility fee approach appeals to  Leon County and the City of Tallahassee as a way  to direct growth into desired areas.

The agenda item, written by City staff, explained to City elected officials that a “countywide mobility fee which focuses development into designated growth areas has the potential to better support City and County infill goals.”

What are the community’s infill goals?

Considering the policies recently adopted by elected officials which include financial incentives to drive  student housing closer to downtown and the multi-modal growth management concept, the infill goals would seem to be to move development closer to downtown.

A Florida mobility study, completed by government and university experts in 2009, concluded that “Modifying the standard impact fee equation to increase sensitivity to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) will reward developments that locate in or near urban centers and those that offer a balanced mix of uses with lower fees.”

The practical approach employed in other jurisdictions is to divide the city or county into districts and to create mobility fees that penalize growth in rural areas and reward growth closer to the urban core.

One of the challenges  for a mobility fee approach in Leon County will be to determine if development around commerce centers to the north, like Bannerman Crossings, or to the east, in the Buck Lake area, are rural and therefore should be penalized through higher mobility fees.

Another approach to collecting VMT taxes focuses on the individual and includes the use of GPS technology. Under this approach, GPS technology is used to identify vehicle locations and user fees are based on local taxes, time of day, and traffic congestion.

For example, people traveling during high traffic times would pay more than someone running errands in the middle of the day.

How would revenue be collected?

Onboard transponders would communicate directly with motorists as they enter new zones, including premium rate zones and offload VMT data through low-cost roadside hotspots at traffic signals, toll plazas, fuel pumps and other mobile commerce sites where billing is automatic.

This approach has recently been piloted in Oregon.

Why are the City and the County considering a mobility fee now?

The agenda item explained that “an opportunity exists now to develop and implement a mobility fee system. There is adequate guidance in existing statutes and through successful mobility fee systems that are being operated in other Florida communities. Additionally, an upward trending economic market provides a favorable climate for its development and implementation.”

We will follow the discussion on this issue at the next City Commission meeting.

77 Responses to "City, County to Consider $300,000 Study that Supports a New Tax on Vehicle Miles Traveled"

  1. …“an opportunity exists now to develop and implement a mobility fee system. There is adequate guidance in existing statutes and through successful mobility fee systems that are being operated in other Florida communities. Additionally, an upward trending economic market provides a favorable climate for its development and implementation.”…

    So, the reason for the mobility tax is that: other people are doing it and because people are making more money or the economy is doing better, it’s a good time to institute more taxes?

    Let’s focus on reducing spending before we pay $300,000 to do a study about how to effectively tax more.

    Sheesh…please get out and vote.

  2. If all the people who are revolted by this City Commission got one other person and themselves to vote in the next local elections, we could get these people out of office.

    The challenge is to get honest people to run for office.

  3. Perhaps this money would have been better spent on a study on the unused bike lanes taking over Tallie. And for that matter, why do these cyclists get to use the City’s streets for free?

  4. Its pretty horrible how wrong you got this story. This is a change from a concurrency fee to a mobility fee for developers. You got a whole bunch of people angry over something that doesn’t exist and wasn’t proposed. Don’t be part of the system that adds anger and apathy to the political world. Be honest. Try harder!

  5. Who should pay for roads?Those who drive the most or everyone else? As a life long conservative, I believe users should pay whatever is determined to be their fair share. From all I have studied, my living out in Killearn Lakes requires a lot more government expenses (subsidies)than someone living closer to town.So I should pay more if that is true.

  6. I have a question , it is my understanding that Tallahassee is officially a refugee relocation city now thru the catholic charities on blounstown hwy, given that our job growth rate has been one of the lowest for the last two years how does the city plan to help find jobs for all the refugees that they plan to relocate here ?

  7. Here is an idea. Read the report from the Oregon proof of concept and see why they never implemented this tax!

  8. Hmmm….. wasn’t the blueprint 2000 also supposed to supplement money for road repair & maintenance? Why is the city & county AGAIN looking to screw the citizens with yet another tax? When we will be smart enough to stand up and say “Hey, forget you clowns!!” Not to mention, I’d like to see them put a GPS transponder in my vehicle because as another person mentioned, they have no business knowing my business.

    I think it’s time for the smart people to move out of Taxahassee because this crap is getting way too common!

  9. It would negatively impact my business and by the way, we live in the country because the city was too expensive 30 years ago. I would have to cease doing business if taxes are too expensive. I already have to choose between federal taxes and groceries. Tallahassee makes doing business so hard.

  10. Just now seeing this, but I’m against it… The last thing I need is yet another tax (pay cut) because I have to drive to/from my work site daily…. Another penalty for the working class.

  11. A tax on miles drive ? Where in the world do we get these commissioners from anyway? Oh I forgot, it is the idiots that vote them into office, and where do we get these idiots from—the so called “have nots” with little education and a hidden agenda that gears them toward the “”free stuff”” the rest of us pay for. Wake up , folks before some real problems arise that will require some very serious choices in life. ( By the way —-pass some stupid VMT tax in Tallahassee, and me and mine are out of here!!!!)

  12. Lets Face It , Andrew Gillum is a Crook and the #00 K will end up in one of his buddies pockets with a nice little kickback to him.

  13. So the impact this would have on the cost of providing home health and hospice care just went up… again. We have had enough cuts to our reimbursement and now you are going to charge us to drive to our patient’s homes? We are already reimbursing thousands of dollars to our nurses,social workers, chaplains, hospice aides, and music therapists in mileage to allow those who are ill to stay in their homes as well as providing much needed assistance in nursing homes and assisted living facilities – are you really going to make money off these much needed services that are already being cut to the max????? Please rethink the ripple effect this will have on our community members and businesses.

  14. I’m rasing to granddaughters on my little income there’s know way i can do that it takes all my money just to pay the bills.looks like you could put that money toward something else that would be we even have f2f hat kind of money to spend.Our roads are still in bad shape our schools could still use some improvements I could think of a lot more things to use that money on we don’t need another tax thing.Are you trying to do away with the small people

  15. This seems like the city council could have legal consequences for this , the city said it is to punish people who shop/ live in outskirts like bannerman and buck lake area … So they are for example going to tax you more if you shop at target in bannerman and charge you less to shop at target on appalachee parkway that seems like government interference in free commerce …. What right do they have to try to force us to shop or live anywhere , if they want people to move and shop in town maybe they should hire more officers with that $300,00 , clean up the crime and gangs and then you wouldn’t have to tax people to force them to shop where they think they should be …usually urban sprawl is an indicator of healthy city growth … Maybe the $300,000 should be spent on economic class for the city officials … If your crime rate is really high use the extra money to hire officers not build a $12 million dollar bridge to nowhere would be one example

  16. Deferred compensation, blatantly living out of district, mullet wrapper covers your backside, free tax $$ for your buddies to open a restaurant that *almost* rivals Taco Bell in taste and quality, assistant AG snortin’ toot-sweet, tax for this, tax for that, tax on taxes, tax per mile driven…

    I have spent a whole two minutes thinking of a new Chamber of Commerce slogan:

    Tallahassee/Leon County – We don’t even try to hide it anymore!

  17. If they think they will put a transponder on my personal property and control my movements through fines…it WILL HIT THE FAN!!!

  18. City and County emails. Send emails!

    “” ; “” ; “” ; “” ; “” ; “” ; “” ; “” ; John Dailey ; “” ; “” ; “”

  19. Perhaps if the city cleaned up the crime and gangs in the inner city they would not have to put an unjust tax on drivers to try and force them to move to the downtown area …there I just saved you $300,000 on your study …

  20. It is absolutely disgusting on so many levels , peak time will be highest taxes i.e. They will tax and penalize people going to work … People who don’t work and run errands during non peak time get rewarded for not working , invasion of privacy tracking every move you make , how will they implement on people passing through town who don’t live here , who is linked to a city council member that will get this $$ for this study ? Drive more business and people out of Tallahassee …

  21. Is this a social experiment? Is this real? We are well past April Fool’s Day. I recently changed parties after 30+ years of being a blue dog democrat (and my relatives are rolling over in their graves). If all of those who commented above even represent 1/3-1/2 of Tallahassee per capita, let’s have a switching party Party and vote them all out NOW. What a collosal waste of time and money. Unbelievable. Socialist Fascists. Disgusted beyond belief does not even begin to describe.

  22. Not a movie critic but this back door carbon tax gets ” two thumbs down”. My wife and I volunteer with other members of the Capital City Kiwanis Club to deliver Hot Meals to our Senior citizens that are shut in. This is another big government, intrusive and coercive idea. How long before we are told that only bicycles or city buses will be allowed, with the exception of city approved vehicles?

  23. The day that the city approve such a ludicrous plan of tracking people’s activity and mileage is the day that I pack my bags and move out of the city. I will close the doors to my business and move to Texas. This is the most absurd proposal I have ever heard of. Everyone reading this should be marching down to city hall or riding their commissioners and asking them what the hell they are thinking of using taxpayer money for such ridiculous, unnecessary studies. I refuse to be penalized for driving the miles that I do, paying for a car, gasoline, higher insurance, all to help bring people to this city to live and to turn around and be penalized for that. This would be the day that I stop telling people Tallahassee is a great place to live.

  24. So, after reading all of these comments – will each of you (and plenty of others) write to City and County Commissioners and jam their chambers during meetings to demand this be stopped here and now? Additionally, this will not stop until a majority of County and City commissioners are bonafide conservatives. It starts with this election cycle, but the real chance to make gains is the next one. Mid-term (non-Presidential) election cycles are the very best chance to make inroads.

    1. Preston,
      I’d like to believe that it matters, but I fear that it no longer does. The politicians float these balloons, we get pissed off, voice our opinions, they say okay, and then do some covert taxation. What happened with the Performing Arts Center? We voted it down, voted it down again, and voted it down, only to have it resurrected. The only reason we’re not sitting on an big, beautiful, empty building today is because the economy turned over. But mark my words…..a few years from now we will have a performing arts center in all it’s splendor. Empty, just like our museum.

      After posting my previous comment earlier today, I’ve had time to think about it. No wonder we are being taxed on what we used….there’s nothing left to tax us on. They already tax us on our income, cars (annually and at purchase), house, processed food, durable and non-durable goods, cell phones, cable bills…blah, blah, blah. Over dinner we were talking and saying how they will tax us over what we breathe, but they already do…it’s called Obamacare. If you breath, you must have insurance. They only thing that they don’t directly tax is the miles we drive and the steps we walk. And heck, we pay mileage indirectly through gas taxes.

      As I always say, ALL governments are broke, eventually WE will be broke paying taxes, and then it becomes like Rome where they send in the soldiers to shake us down. And in some cases, I’d argue that’s already happening. I say, plant fruit trees, there’s an annual return on your money in the form of food and you can bless your neighbors on the process.

      We’re moving. My family has been in Tallahassee for 75 years, and in North Florida since the mid-1800s….even part Native American. We have already purchased land elsewhere. Keep up the good fight, we are making our last stand elsewhere.

    2. Preston what do you have against black community organizer? I have tried to reach out to you several times with no response.

      1. Mr Sims,
        As a part of a privately funded community organization I personally find your statement about Preston Scott biased and racist.
        Mr. Scott has always been easily accessible to anyone wanting the opportunity to talk with him about anything community oriented. Shame on you for trying to deflect this conversation away from a conversation about a group of publicly elected officials who seem intent on taxation without representation.

        1. If this is the same Stanley Sims as the Reverend Stanley Sims, he supported the 27% property tax increase even though he does not live in the City. He also warned that if the property tax increase was not approved and accepted that “violence would be coming to your front door”.

  25. April Fools has come and gone! NO! No! No!
    This is s job for the state department of transportation to do or the legislature since is of statewide significance.
    It will TAX only local residents or will the county be setting up booths on every road coming into the county and making all visitors and semi’s passing thru pay something too? It will discriminate against locals. I don’t want another big brother in my car charging me based on the time of day I am required to go to work. Just put a fuel tax in if needed and everyone will pay at the pump. Use the $300,000 to pay for the wasted gas lights that burn 24/7/365 around town (our energy conscious town)even in the middle of the day. How long to I get on the soapbox? I feel disenfranchised!

  26. Wait, bought a house and moved into the city from rural Gadsden County to SAVE money on fuel and other vehicle related costs. Now they want to make me pay to drive to work. To pay to go grocery shopping.
    Hmmmmm, sounds like I will be moving back to the country house and renting the city house.

  27. so we are being punished for driving a Prius?.. Please, if any of you people we have supported, voted for, and entrusted, are reading this ……stop this madness SOME are perpetuating on us. I know most of you personally, so take this a personal plea.

  28. Are they also going to charge out of state people and thise from other counties that drive on the roads to their job and take income back to THEIR state/county and support their economy. How about tourists? How about semis and delivery trucks? Pizza delivery drivers? Why are they considering raising revenue only on the backs of the local residents when others are benefiting, using and wearing out the roads as well. Its time to start voting ALL these people out!

  29. Isn’t this some way tied in with violation of privacy rights if it passes? Wow…if the Liberals can get this passed along with their global warming wealth redistribution scheme, they will have plenty of money to fund themselves and many more far-left encroachments.

  30. Perhaps we could just use the transportation dollars as was initially intended filling pot holes or maybe a little work on Kimmer Rowe (fire or ambulance anyone) instead of one out of three dollars being used for non-infrastructure projects e.g. The auto transportation museum in -, “wait for it” – D.C. #Wake Up People!

  31. Follow the money. Find out whose buddy will be getting the 300K for the study.

    Next we will be taxed per flush.

    WE need to all contact city & county commissioners!

  32. Here’s an idea…DON’T build the $12,000,000 bridge to the park, DON’T continue to use smoke and mirrors to create a budget that hides millions of dollars in taxes so you can charge millions more of taxes and DO go back to providing core services with a smaller leaner staff with fewer paid interns and in-fill staff. DO eliminate a paid ceremonial mayor and go back to having hard-working citizens elected to office to serve their community…not to have their community serve them. Too many “professional” politicians.

  33. Please post on Facebook the day of this meeting in advance so we have notice. This is absolutely the most criminal act of taxing without representation I have ever seen. I live in the county do I get a say. This mayor needs to go. If I am in town I will be at this meeting.

  34. Anyone that willingly allows a tracking device to be put in their vehicle, especially for taxation purposes, deserves the same cranio-sphinctal extraction treatment that Kirk Douglas gave to Patrick O’Neal in “In Harm’s Way”. They do have to know that these devices can easily be either destroyed, or wrapped in so much diffusive material, that they won’t get a signal out.

    1. Correct, Bryan.
      Just buy or build a Faraday cage and enclose the meter in it while you drive.
      Problem solved, for under $50.

      And yes, this “mobility” tax is a thinly-disguised carbon tax. Google that with “Bernie Saunders,” but not right after you’ve eaten.

    2. The county/city will just tie it to license plate renewal and drivers won’t have a choice. No transponder, no tag renewal.

  35. Non-issue. Title a vehicle outside of Leon County, and they have no authority to “put” something in your car. This is why we are moving out of Leon County. ALL governments are broke, and will continue to extract money from the people until the people are powerless and enslaved. This agenda is being pushed by many politicians. Several years ago, I recall Brian Desloge saying that governments are moving towards usage fees and taxes, i.e. if you “use” it, you are taxed for it. I was happy, because I knew that if the government taxed me based on my usage, I will “use” something else. Thanks for the bike lanes! Soon we will all be driving motorized bicycles just like China! Just this weekend, my husband was saying that in the future, highways will only be for the use of the wealthy and the politicians. You are seeing the beginning of that.

  36. This is not just about the daily ‘errands’. Businesses who use their vehicles relentlessly will be hammered by this type of tax. Prices go up.

  37. I live in the county and drive in to town every week to do volunteer work, this is an extra 65 miles every week. It already costs me to volunteer, is this going to make it too costly to continue for me, and others?

  38. $300,000? Sounds like some commissioner has a buddy/contributor wanting to ‘earn/donate’ some cash. Hmm. Who’s running for office? Could it be a former mayor who picked up a quick $100,000 via a ‘best friend’when he helped push through a Super Walmart? Perhaps.

  39. Take from those that have little and give to those that DO NOTHING or think they deserve it because they are an insider! it is the Democratic way right? Oh wait is that Socialism? it will never end until ??? But build a ghetto and control them all! That is what our Govt. wants right? Pay me to do as I say not as I do. Suppress business with taxation, bureaucracy, irresponsible and probable criminal leadership with no moral or ethical standards and Tallahassee will go the way of the DETROIT, Chicago, etc.

    Killearn Estates and every community in the city North of I-10 should start the de-annexation process yesterday. Oh I forgot the current city regime would have to approve this action if the petitions were obtained and why would they give up their piggy bank known as the North side.

    Glad this crap did not come out of the county.

  40. There are alternative types of tax incentives and ways that the city could offer developers to encourage “infill growth” – rather than penalizing those who choose to live in the outer suburbs.
    This is a just another euphemistic means for Mayor Gillum and the Downtown Cabal to “redistribute wealth” in Tallahassee:
    Tax those who live in the higher-income outer suburbs and redistribute the money to others through unspecific, ambiguous-goal city “grants” to southside nonprofits run by city cronies and lobbyists. Mayor Gillum has indeed been studying the methods of his idol, Barack Obama – and the mayor is duplicating those methods in Tallahassee.

    In Atlanta since 2005, the trend of multiple suburbs seceding from the city and forming their own independent cities has already been achieved with great success for the resulting new cities with balanced budgets, excellent school districts, and so on. If Downtown continues in their present agenda, can the City of North Tallahassee be far off?

  41. Quote “Another approach to collecting VMT taxes focuses on the individual and includes the use of GPS technology. Under this approach, GPS technology is used to identify vehicle locations and user fees are based on local taxes, time of day, and traffic congestion.”

    Am I the only one who sees how wrong this is. Where I am is my business, not governments. They have no right to track us.

  42. So the commissioners have a friend who needs a third of a million dollars…
    And similar published reports with conclusions are available from other municipalities and sources.
    High school quality rehashing of these other documents won’t cost much, and everyone in Leon County and Tallahassee gets taxed an additional dollar this year for baloney.
    This smells like something that would interest a dung beetle.

    Steve, can you put out a call for a list of useful projects for which $300,000 invested would make a significant difference in the lives of city and county residents? Maybe you could deliver it to the commissioners via a list on your front page.

  43. The $300,000 study probably need to consider whether citizens would accept a “smart meter ” in their car. A smart meter for utility service was a little disconcerting for some of us. A meter in our cars (?) — that may be too much government intrusion for many of us.

  44. It is never enough. The greedy nature of government is such that it will never, ever be enough – unless you send every single elected commissioner who supports this packing. Instead of raising taxes (ie: killing more job growth) and fees (hitting the poor the hardest) how about we demand a focus on core services only. There is plenty of money – remember the recent gas tax to pay for roads. Think hard about the notion of the government controlling how much or how far you drive. This is frightening.

  45. The Progressive agenda never stops. The Big Government machine needs more and more tax dollars to feed the growing beast’s salaries, benefits and pensions. The tax dollar scheming needs a stake through the heart.

  46. Our local government is seriously trying to CREATE more taxes because we purchased more efficient cars because gas prices are straining our budgets? Wow! First our local government decided that all high school sports are to be self-funded by charging student-athletes anywhere from $250 to $2500 a year to play sports that used to be funded through our property taxes, then they charge for using tennis courts our tax dollars built, then they charge to park to use the library, and now they want to charge us simply for driving on top of the fees charged when we buy our cars, fees based on how much our car weighs, and other fees charged each year for OWNING a car! Where will it end?!?

    1. This unfairly penalizes people who use their vehicles to make a living – such as my own husband who it out and about servicing accounts all day. I’m waiting to see how long it will be before they begin taxing us to breathe air.

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