After Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg hinted at a mileage tax during an interview, the U.S. Department of Transportation clarified last Saturday that “the Biden administration was not considering a plan to tax drivers by the number of miles that they drive,” reports Connor Perrett for Business Insider.
When “specifically questioned about the efficacy of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax, which would tax drivers by the number of miles they drive and is seen as an alternative to taxing gasoline,” during a CNBC interview last week, Buttigieg said the idea “shows a lot of promise,” but made no specific promises. “You’re hearing a lot of ‘maybe’ here because all of these things need to be balanced and could be part of the mix,” he said.
Critics from both sides of the aisle worry that a VMT tax would unfairly tax people who cannot afford to live close to their jobs, disincentivize fuel-efficient vehicles, and raise privacy concerns when it comes to the data collection involved.
“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,” Department spokesperson Ben Halle told Insider’s Adam Wren. A $3 trillion infrastructure plan, expected to be unveiled this week, is expected to consist of two bills. “The first bill is expected to have a focus on upgrading bridges and roads while the second would focus on elements like education and childcare.”