Government commission urges taxing drivers by-the-mile

February 26, 2009

A week after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood floated the idea of taxing drivers by-the-mile-driven rather than by-the-gallon-of-gas-purchased and the White House’s near-immediate denial that such a tax was under consideration, a federal commission has recommended just such as tax.

In a report released today, the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission recommended that,

A federal funding system based on more direct forms of “user pay” charges, in the form of a charge for each mile driven (commonly referred to as a vehicle miles traveled or VMT fee system),
has emerged as the consensus choice for the future…

Commence the transition to a new, more direct user charge system as soon as possible and commit to deploying a comprehensive system by 2020…

Ensure that, once implemented, mileage-based fees and any other charges are set to meet the
designated federal share of national surface transportation investment needs, and index these rates to inflation.

Initiate an extensive public outreach effort to create a broad understanding of the current funding
problem, the proposed solution, the intended method of implementation, and the anticipated
impact on individual system users.

So the government plans on monitoring how much you drive and taxing you on that basis. Note that fuel efficient vehicles won’t save you from the tax.

The Commission’s report is available here.

5 Responses to “Government commission urges taxing drivers by-the-mile”

  1. everythingykiw Says:

    Well, they could tax you every year when you go to renew your vehicle’s registration. They could come out and check your odometer (unless you’ve tampered with it).

    They could make all interstates toll roads. (starting to happen already in S FL with toll express lanes, paying to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic)

    Also, different vehicles SHOULD be charged different rates. A big dump truck is going to cause a lot more road wear than a Toyota Prius. Pay by the ton (maximum load capacity)?

    Or, should there be a tax on total energy use, regardless of where it comes from to continue to encourage the energy efficiency of alternative fuel vehicles. (Nah, we’ve got enough energy taxes coming already thanks to Al Gore/Obama)

    Well, enough speculation. Less taxes in general benefits everyone. We need roads, but who wants to pay for them? Managing roads should be left to the counties, where the people who use them are the ones who pay for them. I don’t want my tax dollars going to Washington to pay for (another?) “bridge to nowhere”!

  2. Just Beau Says:

    And what did you do there?
    And why did you do it?
    And did it have a carbon footprint?
    And did you buy enough CO2 off-sets to save the Earth?
    It might make some folks so hot there really would be Global Warming.

    Upon reflection, this may not be a GH issue. It may be a user fee that does not have an environmental justification. If its loco, it may not be green loco.

  3. semperloco Says:

    This would require them KNOWING exactly how much you drive. I have a problem with that. The next thing they will want to know is where.

  4. Just Beau Says:

    The context and rationale must be paying for maintenance of the highway system, by levying use charges. Those with fuel efficient vehicles would still gain via lower gas cost.
    Metering and taxing mileage is going to perplex and concern some citizens, if they wonder if Big Brother is monitoring their driving.
    A tax on gasoline has been a traditional way to raise funds for highways to which many are more accustomed. Taxing mileage could try to show users of highways what their taxes go toward providing.

  5. Just Beau Says:

    A tax on mileage would penalize those who buy fuel efficient vehicles.

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