With gas tax revenues decreasing, an intriguing idea has emerged over how to fund our country's transportation network: Instead of taxing drivers based on a failed, 20th century model — the gas tax — should we tax them using 21st century technology?

... The nation's new transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, told The Associated Press recently that "we should look at" the idea. The somewhat unsteady White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, assured reporters that President Obama wasn't interested in taxing vehicle miles traveled.

Yet last week a federal transportation commission chairman said Gibbs was "somewhat premature" and called looking at VMT — or vehicle miles traveled — "absolutely critical."

... The first problem usually raised with a VMT tax is that "Big Brother" would use the technology to track citizens in violation of their rights. For any progress to take place on advancing VMT, officials must prove convincingly that even if the program relied on Global Positioning System devices, the in-car gadgets could be rendered sufficiently untraceable.

A big concern ... is the immense bureaucracy such a tax could create. ...

But with the future of travel leaning toward vehicles that are fueled without gasoline, or with much less of it per mile, some new tax must replace the old one. ...