Heads Up: Infrastructure Bill Paves the Way for a Miles-Traveled Tax

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Wednesday, August 4th, 2021, 6:22 PM PERMALINK

Bill sets up pilot program with the goal of imposing a permanent vehicle mileage tax, shovels money to states to push them to do the same, and spends taxpayer money for politicians to lobby the public to support the tax

The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill would pave the way for a new miles-driven tax on drivers by creating various pilot programs for a "vehicle per-mile user fee.”

A vehicle miles-traveled tax (VMT) would charge motorists based on how many miles they have traveled and is often pitched by proponents as a means of capturing additional revenue from the American people.

Biden administration officials, including White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, have repeatedly stated that a VMT would violate President Biden’s pledge that he will not raise any taxes on people making less than $400,000 a year.

In March, Secretary Buttigieg was even forced to make an embarrassing walk back of his previous support for a VMT. “No (a VMT) is not part of the conversation about this infrastructure bill,” Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I just want to make sure that's really clear."

Despite these promises from the Biden administration, $125 million is included in the legislative text to fund the creation of VMT pilot programs. Below are details taken straight from the infrastructure bill:  

Spends $75 million doling out grants to State, local and regional transportation departments to set up pilot programs

Section 13001 authorizes $15,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2022 through 2026 to be distributed as grants by the Secretary of Transportation with the purpose of establishing pilot projects at the State, local, and regional level “to test the feasibility of a road usage fee.”

Taxpayer dollars used to lobby the public for tax hikes

Sections 13001 states that an objective of the pilot programs that the Secretary of Transportation will be responsible for meeting will be “to conduct public education and outreach to increase public awareness regarding the need for user-based alternative revenue mechanisms for surface transportation programs.”

Translation: Taxpayer dollars used to lecture drivers on why they need to pay more taxes. Imagine a public service announce from Pete Buttigieg promoting a miles-traveled tax and paid for by taxpayers.

Spends $50 million creating a national VMT pilot program

Section 13002 authorizes $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2022 through 2026 to carry out the implementation of a national VMT pilot program. Program participants would volunteer to participate in the pilot program with the goal of testing “the design, acceptance, implementation, and financial sustainability of a national motor vehicle per-mile user-fee.” Volunteers would be solicited from all 50 states and include both commercial and passenger vehicles.

Creates an Advisory Board stacked with special interest groups, lobbyists and woke activists

Section 13002 sets up "Federal System Funding Alternative Advisory Board" to make recommendations on the structure, scope and methodology of the pilot program and to carry out a public awareness campaign for the program. The bill mandates that the board shall include representatives of the trucking industry, transportation focused non-profits, and “advocacy groups focused on equity.”

Outlines tools used to track driver’s miles driven

The bill lays out the various “vehicle-miles-traveled-collection tools” that would be used by the federal government to track drivers. These tools include third-party onboard diagnostic devices (GPS tracking devices), smart phone apps, data from automakers and data obtained by car insurance companies.

 

Photo Credit: WTOP

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