Tuesday, October 23, 2018
The proposed “robot tax” has taken one step closer to reality with California Governor Jerry Brown’s recent signing of Assembly Bill 1184. The bill authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to impose a tax on each ride originating in San Francisco provided by an automated vehicle, whether facilitated by a rides haring app or another person.
The automated vehicle tax would be capped at 1.5% of net rider fares when a passenger shares a ride with other passengers, and 3.25% of net rider fees when the passenger does not share the ride. The revenues from this tax would be required to be used to fund “transportation operations and infrastructure” within the city.
Though autonomous vehicles are currently in development and the technology is still out of the consumer's grasp, California and San Francisco wanted to be ahead of the economic rush and possible turmoil of switching to such a drastically different system. Drivers would no longer need to pay vehicle license and registration taxes, so the local governments would need to find an equivalent.
See Fisher Phillips, Rise of the Robot Tax? New California Law Puts San Francisco on the Path to Taxing Autonomous Vehicles, Lexology, October 18, 2018.