Commentary: Buttigieg Floats ‘Miles Traveled Tax,’ Making Things Even Harder for American Families

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is thinking up new ways to fund infrastructure, and his latest proposal would deal a big blow to American workers.

While speaking with CNBC on Friday, Buttigieg said he liked the idea of a tax based on the number of miles driven to raise money to improve roads.

“What about a mileage-based tax?” CNBC anchor Kayla Tausche asked him during a series of rapid-fire questions about options for raising revenue.

“So, I think that shows a lot of promise. If we believe in that so-called user pays principle — the idea of part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive — the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it,” the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said.

“It’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax, or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it,” he said.



The concept is easily one of the most out-of-touch ideas to come from the Biden administration thus far and should not be considered in the slightest.

Gas prices are already on the rise due to OPEC production cuts and increased demand, and Americans do not need an additional expense in order to get to work or school.

More specifically, this would disproportionately hurt people who live in rural areas of the United States.

People in sparsely populated areas have to drive longer distances in general and would end up being taxed the most.

In addition, this would be a slap in the face to low-income Americans who commute at any distance because plenty of them struggle just to afford a car in the first place.

Buttigieg himself is from mostly rural Indiana, so you would think he knows about the burden such a tax would impose.

No matter how it’s funded, the best way to improve infrastructure would be for federal and state governments to outsource to private companies and offer them additional tax incentives.

Contracting to companies not only would mean a smaller burden to taxpayers but also would be more efficient and would encourage private-sector job growth — something that is incredibly necessary for the recovering economy.

The secretary’s pitch is a shining example of the Biden administration’s desire to “Build Back Better,” but only by taking more money out of Americans’ pockets.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Responses

  1. there is more than one way to pay for roads… for every person that drives a EV then tax them on road repair and also 50% of that tax will go towards Slave Reparations… you can send in a check ED or they can just garner your SS checks

  2. The intention of a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax is to charge based on usage. This is no different from toll roads and bridges. It was the original intent of the motor fuels tax as a way to finance the road system.
    Over the next 15-20 years, the vast majority of cars will evolve into fully electric power, and the motor fuels tax will produce a diminishing amount of revenue. It leaves three alternatives:
    Let the street and highway infrastructure deteriorate (which obviously we can’t do)
    Fund streets and highways from general revenues (redistributing costs to
    don’t use the system)
    Fund streets and highways through a VMT or something similar (allocating those costs
    to the users).
    A fourth alternattive (privatization) is unlikely for any roads less intensely used than major highways.
    Much of the outcry over this issue assumes that the VMT would be additive to the motor fuels tax. The fair approach would be to phase out the motor fuels tax as the VMT is phased in to replace it.

    1. Dave… where I live for some reason the tolls roads/bridges were sold to Spain… Spain uses the money to up keep the roads and whats left over they use for retirement pensions of their workers in the Spain Govt….but I have to admit, those are some nicely kept roads…

  3. by this thinking a family of 4 that lives off of $30K per year will pay the exact same tax as the family of 4 that lives off oc $5 million…. and this is fair by what means… so Ed can afford the tax so its OK with him… the other poor slob just paid taxes to drive to Eds house to mow his yard…

    1. I guess you missed the part where I said I support progressive taxation. A family of four making $30K per year wouldn’t be paying as much taxes as a family of four making $5M.

      Yes, I can afford to pay a tax by miles drove. I used to do it with my gas tax, so it’s still doable by me.

      And I’ve got a robot to mow my yard. Automation, baby. And it’s electric, too, so it only costs about $30 a year to keep the yard looking perfect.

  4. thats the dumbest idea I think I ever have heard… OK…so we all ready bought and paid for the roads… they are this very second being maintained via our tax dollars and now they want to tax by the mile… OK… just give me back the taxes I’m paying now, and I’ll use that money to pay for a mile tax…. by law can you actually double tax anything… thats like Ed paying a tax to register his flashlight car and then having to pay a tax to get into the flashlight car…. when does it stop… so if you buy a flash light car and it saves you money then why would you want to just give out more money…. people like that have more money than they got sense…

    1. Well, right now I’m driving my flashlight car on the roads for free, or rather, you’re paying for it instead of me. Registering a vehicle is pretty cheap in my state.

      I recognize that I’m using the roads for free. I also understand that when more and more cars aren’t paying a gas tax but still keep using the roads just as much as gasoline cars, there won’t be as much money available to maintain the infrastructure. I’d rather not be driving on gravel roads.

      There’s going to be a tipping point some time in the future. It makes sense to start looking at solutions before it becomes critical. If they get rid of gasoline taxes to maintain the roads and go with a alternate method that costs about the same as buying gas to drive the same distance, I wouldn’t have any problem with it.

  5. Roads need to be maintained. That’s going to cost money, regardless of how you look at it.

    Nearly all of my bills are usage based. I pay more for electricity than someone who uses less. I pay more for water than someone who uses less. Why should I not pay more for the additional wear and tear on the roads than someone who drives less?

    I agree that a gasoline tax used to be the best way to enforce this, but nowadays, things are changing, not even counting the reduced demand over the last year.

    I live in a rural area, and my daily commute to work is 50 miles each way. I drive an electric car, and it only costs me a little more than $4 a month to drive back and forth every weekday. I pay no gasoline tax. As time passes, more and more people will be in a similar situation.

    The “outsource to private companies and offer additional tax incentives” is a silly idea. How can paying a private company to do the work while charging even less taxes work? How do you get the money to pay the private companies? They need to raise the money somehow to pay the private companies to maintain the infrastructure.

    The simplest way would be to charge drivers by usage, as distasteful as that sounds. They’ll need to find some way to charge heavy drivers like myself who don’t pay gasoline taxes. I’m sure that big businesses which use trucking transportation will fight it tooth-and-nail, though, even though their trucks cause the most wear and tear on our roads.

    1. I’m so happy that you have no problem with ANOTHER TAX, but there are those of us who can’t handle any more expenses by the government … I have a 49 yr old trailer house and a 25 yr old car … I have these old necessities because I’m trying to make ends meet living on SS. I know that isn’t your problem, but there needs to be exemptions for low income – then you can pay all the taxes YOU want …

      1. I’m a supporter of a progressive tax system, so I wouldn’t suggest that I’d support low income people paying higher percentages of their income in taxes.

        Your taxes have gone down by thousands over the past year, so your tax burden was probably pretty small if your income was low enough. Your taxes aren’t going up as much as they’ve gone down.

        The biggest payers of a miles-travelled-tax would be long-distance transportation. If it were charged yearly based on your odometer readings, there could easily be a minimum mileage limit to exempt those who drive less and only pay the existing gas tax.

        Whether we like it or not, taxes are required to run and maintain things. Somebody has to pay those bills.

        When it comes to roads, giving tax incentives to the companies that drive heavily loaded trucks full of rocks that wear down the road surfaces the most shouldn’t be the way to handle it.

        1. “…Your taxes aren’t going up as much as they’ve gone down…”
          If Yvette is living on a single Social Security check it’s likely her income tax is zero or close to it.
          As for the rest of us, as long as Bernie, Fauxcahontas, AOC, and the rest of the Socialists control Congress and tax policy, you are naive to make that assumption.

          1. One of the first things that the “socialists” gave us this year was a $1400 tax break. Everybody’s taxes went down, and some got back more than they paid.

          2. Ed, the price of those $1400 checks was a $5900 increase in the national debt which is going to be repaid through hyperinflation.
            Democratic Socialist policies sow the wind, the rest of us reap the whirlwind.

          3. That $5,900 is on top of the $82K that was already there. It’s not clear to me how much that extra $6k is going to change things very much.

            Trump’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act increased the national debt by just as much, but very little of that went into regular working people’s pockets.

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