A “Miles-Traveled” Tax Is in the Works in Infrastructure Bill

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Washington, D.C. — 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.”

It is often proposed by supporters as a way of capturing additional revenue from the American people through a vehicle miles-traveled tax (VMT); in essence, it is going to hit the working class the hardest, as the un-working class” doesn’t seem to spend much time on the highways. Officials from the Biden administration, including Jen Psaki and 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.This is in spite of the fact that $125 million is earmarked for pilot programs to expand VMT-which kind of sounds to a member of the great unwashed such as myself that the Gum’Ment is speaking with forked tongue.

Here is a summary of specific provisions:

Spends $75 million doling out grants to State, local and regional transportation departments to set up pilot programs (doesn’t sound like a feasibility” study at all); 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.”

Funny, I don’t recall a single tax that was EVER tested for “feasibility.” They pretty much write it up and send me a bill.

And we will use Taxpayer dollars used to lobby the public for tax hikes; Section 13001 states that an objective of the pilot programs that the Secretary of Transportation will be responsible to meet 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.”

This pretty much means Taxpayer dollars used to fire up the ol’ propaganda machine and lecture drivers on why they need to pay more taxes. 

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.

Of course, it has been hinted that this particular tax will replace the gasoline and diesel taxes that are paid at the pump. I have not been able to find a single time in history that we have replaced one tax with another; it has almost always been a manipulation that-when the dust settles-results in a tax that is more than either of the two originals.

Creates an Advisory Board stacked with special interest groups, lobbyists and woke activists (this can’t be good); A Federal System Funding Alternative Advisory Board is established in Section 13002 to make recommendations on the structure, scope, and methodology of the pilot program and to conduct a public awareness campaign for it. The bill requires board members to represent trucking companies, transportation-focused nonprofits, and “equity advocates.

Oh boy, that isn’t a group that sounds very balanced or fair. Get ready for more “tax the rich” (definition subject to change) and “tax the white supremacists” brochures.

Outlines tools used to track driver’s miles driven. And presumably places visited … and how long you stayed (Sometimes “I Told You SO” isn’t quite strong enough); The bill lays out the various “vehicle-miles-traveled-collection tools” that the federal government would use to track drivers. These tools include third-party onboard diagnostic devices (GPS tracking devices), smartphone apps, data from automakers and data obtained by car insurance companies.

Now who on earth thinks that this information is not going to be misused? Checking the GPS logs to see if you might have gone a teensy bit over while going down a hill? Brake reaction time might indicate that you need a “random” DUI stop? Wonder if the insurance rates will stay the same-$10 says that they are NOT going to go down for ANYONE with this new information.

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