After Backlash, USDOT Says Taxing Drivers By The Mile NOT Part of Infrastructure Bill But…

Washington D.C. – The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is seeking to clarify comments Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg made last week in which he signaled his support for a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax.

During a television appearance on CNBC on Friday, Sec. Buttigieg was asked if a VMT tax was being considered as a way to pay for the Biden Administration’s expected $3-4 trillion infrastructure overhaul.




 

“I think a [VMT tax] shows a lot of promise if we believe in that so-called ‘user pays principle’… the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive,” Sec. Buttigieg responded. “The gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it. It’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax or mileage tax or whatever you want to call it could be a way to do it.”

The video clip quickly went viral on social media and set off a firestorm of public outrage.

 

On Saturday, the USDOT attempted to clarify Mr. Buttigieg’s comments.

“The Secretary was having a broad conversation about a variety of ways to fund transportation,” Ben Halle, a USDOT spokesperson, told Business Insider. “To be clear, he never said that VMT was under consideration by the White House as part of this infrastructure plan — and it is not.”




 

While Halle’s statement might quell the public outcry for the moment, trucking industry sources familiar with negotiations on the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization bill — due out later this year — tell Transportation Nation Network a VMT tax proposal, as well as a trucks-only VMT tax measure, remains “very much on the table” as a mechanism to raise revenue for the Highway Trust Fund.

Biden Infrastructure Plan Coming This Week

President Biden will roll out his massive infrastructure proposal this week.

It is expected to include a series of green energy and climate initiatives like building 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations and retrofitting hundreds of thousands of buildings, along with an extensive list of Democrats’ domestic policy priorities such as funding for free community college, universal pre-kindergarten, and housing for low-income Americans.

 

Mr. Biden’s infrastructure package is also expected to include a slew of new tax increases.

During the 2020 campaign, President Biden promised tax hikes on corporations and families earning more than $400,000 per year would be used to fund the avalanche of new spending initiatives promoted as the “Build Back Better” plan.


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Even before the plan has been released, Congressional Democratic leadership is vowing to pass the legislation.




 

During an appearance on CNN last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Democrats are prepared to do whatever is necessary to pass the bill including using a budgeting procedural tool called “reconciliation,” which only requires a simple 51 vote majority instead of the 60 vote filibuster-proof majority.

Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com for the latest developments on this story.

Photos courtesy Pete Buttigieg/Facebook and Georgia Department of Transportation 

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