Infrastructure

The One Silver Lining in the Deficit-Funded, Red-Tape-Filled Infrastructure Bill

The bill working its way through Congress would create a national pilot program to study replacing the gas tax with a mileage-based user fee.

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The infrastructure bill moving through Congress is a debt-funded, red-tape-layering mess. Tucked inside it, however, is a program that could help shift the costs of infrastructure to the people who use it.

For most of its history, the federal government was able to pay for all its highway spending through federal excise taxes on gasoline—that is, taxes paid by people using the highways. But over the past decade, highway spending has outpaced gas tax revenues, thanks to increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles, slower post-recession growth in auto travel, and the diversion of gas tax revenue to transit. To plug that gap, Congress has directed $158 billion of general, non-gas-tax-generated funds to the Highway Trust Fund.

One idea floated to end these persistent shortfalls is to replace a gas tax with a fee based on the number of miles a vehicle travels.

To that end, the 2,700-page infrastructure bill would spend $50 million over five years to create and promote a National Motor Vehicle Per-Mile User Fee Pilot program.

This pilot program would solicit the participation of volunteers across the country who'd opt in to paying a mileage fee set by the secretary of transportation each year. That fee could take into account the weight and type of vehicles to better "reflect estimated impacts on infrastructure, safety, congestion, the environment, or other related social impacts."

The fees paid by these volunteers would all go to the Highway Trust Fund. Pilot participants would also get to choose different methods of providing their mileage data to the government. The bill lists a number of possible ways to collect information, including a smartphone app, an onboard device provided by a third party, and data collected by insurance or car companies.

A number of mileage fee programs are already underway at the state and regional levels.

The most developed is Oregon's OreGo. People who opt in to this program pay 1.8 cents per mile traveled in exchange for a credit on the gas taxes they pay at the pump. This program started in 2015 with 5,000 drivers, and it has since expanded to all willing participants with a qualifying vehicle.

Utah has a more limited program that allows owners of hybrid, electric, and other alternative fuel vehicles to pay a 1.5 cent fee in lieu of the special registration fees they'd otherwise be charged.

California and Washington have also run time-limited pilot programs. Since 2016, the federal government has given out $95 million in grants to 37 state-level programs testing various aspects of mileage-based user fees. The current infrastructure bill would give another $75 million over five years to states, localities, and regional entities to set up their own pilot programs.

"A national pilot lets us do it at a scale that the states can't do," says Adrian Moore, vice president of policy at the Reason Foundation (which publishes this website). "We've had pilots with 5,000 people in them. What we need is one with 50,000 people in them."

The biggest problem with the national mileage fee pilot in the infrastructure bill as written, he says is that it doesn't exempt volunteer participants from federal gas taxes.

"It explicitly violates the stated intent, which is to replace the gas tax with a mileage-based charge," he says. "Who's going to volunteer to pay double?"

Moore predicts that an exemption to federal gas taxes for program participants will get included tacked onto the national pilot, either by an amendment in Congress or by the federal bureaucrats who set up the program down the line.

A mileage fee is not without controversy. Americans for Tax Reform has criticized the proposed pilot as laying the groundwork for another tax hike. The trucking industry is a reliable opponent of a mileage fee as well.

Moore says that free marketeers should stop worrying and learn to love mileage fees. Thus far, he notes, none of the pilot programs at the state level have attempted to charge drivers a fee on top of a gas tax. Having a funding mechanism that charges drivers for the infrastructure they use is a also good way to avoid massive, deficit-funded bills like the one Congress is considering, he adds.

"This is still an experimental idea. In theory, it's a better way to charge for roads. It's a direct user fee. It's more like what the market would do than the gas tax. In that way, it's definitely a step in the right direction," says Moore.

NEXT: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Add More Than $250 Billion to the Deficit. Does Anyone Care?

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  1. “This pilot program would solicit the participation of volunteers across the country who’d opt in to paying a mileage fee set by the secretary of transportation each year.”

    As long as they start with Tesla owners.

    1. What’s “Tesla”? The feds don’t even acknowledge their existence (see my post below).

      1. Tesla is the company that revolutionized the electric car industry, outsells all of them, but isn’t unionized, so a non entity.

        1. Elon also challenged the California lock down, so not a Team Player.

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    2. Why musk folks pick on Tesla?

      1. Tesla’s a good car and Musk is about as good as it gets for a billionaire tycoon type. I wasn’t picking on Tesla, just Tesla drivers.

  2. Moore says that free marketeers should stop worrying and learn to love mileage fees. Thus far, he notes, none of the pilot programs at the state level have attempted to charge drivers a fee on top of a gas tax.

    I’ll believe that when my gas prices drop by 85%.

  3. “Replace”

    Haaahahahahahahaha!!!

    Oh, you’re serious?

    HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

    1. Moore predicts that an exemption to federal gas taxes for program participants will get included tacked onto the national pilot, either by an amendment in Congress or by the federal bureaucrats who set up the program down the line.

      Oh yeah, they’ll totally get around to replacing it eventually, i’m sure.

      1. Also, when the hell did “federal bureaucrats” get the authority to enact tax exemptions?

    2. I came here to post that, because we all know that in the end “both” is the only possible solution for government.

    1. And nobody will figure out how to disable the odometer on their car.

      1. Doesn’t seem like a big deal. Just attach it to the mandatory sobriety testing gear in your car. Freedom from gas taxes!

        1. Wouldn’t be surprised if they started including tracking chips on license plates or registration stickers

          1. Why bother? They already put that into the vaccine.

            1. +1

              1. Lol, sarcasmic is so desperate for friends, he’s pushing chemjeff’s narrative for free.
                Make sure to share some of your comment bonuses with him Jeffy, sarc always needs beer money.

            2. Is this something that someone here has espoused, or are we equating questioning passports, lockdowns and mandates with being a crazy anti-vaxxer?

              1. Nope. More of the blue among bullshit him and Jeff peddle incessantly.

              2. It’s called a joke.

              3. When me or jeff or some other person with a sense of humor says something you interpret as absurd, it’s probably a joke. Ignore it and move on.

                1. That means it’s a bad joke.

                  1. A bad joke that he tells over and over.

                  2. Depends on who you ask.

                    1. Anybody with a sense of humor, rather than resentful narcissism, knows it’s a bad and tired joke that you use to get applause from collectivist seals like chemjeff.
                      How many threads have you made this “joke” on today/yesterday?

                2. Every stupid thing you say you claim is a joke. In reality you are just saying stupid shit.

                3. When me or jeff

                  Poor sarcasmic thinks he has a friend, when in fact Jeff is a paid commenter who earns his money fifty-centing here and a few other places.

              4. https://www.oregonlive.com/coronavirus/2021/07/false-claim-that-covid-19-vaccines-contain-microchips-emerged-from-entrenched-theory-about-world-elite.html

                An Economist/YouGov poll this month found that 20% of Americans worry that the COVID-19 vaccines might contain microchips.

                1. First of all, it’s a YouGov poll.

                  Second, over 40% of people believe the sun revolves around the earth. So . . .

                  1. Collectivistjeff thinks someone with XY chromosomes can be a woman and that it’s opposing racism to say that all white people are inherently racist and privileged.
                    Let’s do a poll on how many leftists believe the premises of critical race theory.

          2. There are enough license plate scanner cameras on the roadsides to easily track any car pretty much anywhere. Granted they’re mostly focused on highways and city streets but it’s unlikely anyone can stay in the exurbs forever.

            1. Very true.

              Motorcycles have one small plate in the back. Easy to obscure. Leave your cell phone at home. Pain in the ass though, and for what.

    2. I guess we’ll just have to enact constant government monitoring. But no moar gas taxes Reason say yay!!!

      1. But this is in addition to gas taxes

  4. Nothing screams Reason! more than getting on board with a new massive tax program while knowing damn well that it will compound, rather than replace, other existing taxes.

    1. Do you think that they’re really this naïve, or are they desperately looking for excuses to partially excuse Democrat insanity.

      1. Yes. You forgot to leave both as an explicit option.

  5. I’m lost about how they intend to get milage from people who do not volunteer it. GPS tracking devices just seem to cry out for a switch in the trunk.
    If odometer readings are needed, my insurance company has not asked for any of my data for over ten years. Are we looking forward to random highway odometer checks, like the random checks for drunk drivers? The only to really check would be when the car is sold, so don’t sell it – keep it until it gets towed to the wrecking yard – with a broken odometer.
    I don’t have a cell phone on me every time I get into a car, so how’s that supposed to work?

    1. I’m lost about how they intend to get milage from people who do not volunteer it. GPS tracking devices just seem to cry out for a switch in the trunk.

      I believe the UK already has comprehensive systems in place that do just this, and have had for some years. This is not technologically infeasible. We just need to decide if we’re comfortable with it from a standpoint of liberty.

      1. Sounds like Reason is comfortable.

        1. 2005.

          Britain is to become the first country in the world where the movements of all vehicles on the roads are recorded. A new national surveillance system will hold the records for at least two years.

          Using a network of cameras that can automatically read every passing number plate, the plan is to build a huge database of vehicle movements so that the police and security services can analyse any journey a driver has made over several years.

          The network will incorporate thousands of existing CCTV cameras which are being converted to read number plates automatically night and day to provide 24/7 coverage of all motorways and main roads, as well as towns, cities, ports and petrol-station forecourts.

          By next March a central database installed alongside the Police National Computer in Hendon, north London, will store the details of 35 million number-plate “reads” per day. These will include time, date and precise location, with camera sites monitored by global positioning satellites.

    2. Nothing a few pointed regulations cannot fix. Shit, defund the police sounds good right about now. Who is going to enforce all these laws?

      1. We’re back in ‘re-fund’ the police, but to confiscate guns and enforce the Green New Deal.

        1. Secession is inevitable.

          1. Hopefully

            #FLexit

        2. And enforce mask mandates. Don’t forget the mask mandates!

          1. What’re vaccine mandates, chopped liver?

    3. Make it part of registration, where you show your odometer to the DMV.

    4. From an article on splinternews.com: Sevag Sarkissian, a State Farm spokesperson, confirmed that the company gets mileage information for cars it insures in a variety of ways: from customers directly, from telematics technologies if a customer has plugged a monitoring device into their car, and “sometimes through the use of a third party vendor.”
      Like the garage or dealer that changed your oil. My Farmer’s agent told me the same thing.

  6. The bill lists a number of possible ways to collect information, including a smartphone app, an onboard device provided by a third party, and data collected by insurance or car companies.

    No liberty problems there.

    1. Yep. Zero chance this will ever be used to stalk anyone or find out if they’re going to an attorney or if they’re going to Planned Parenthood or…. yeah, I’m sure unlike abusing FISA courts or the FBI or the IRS, this will never, ever, super secret double-dare never be abused.

    2. Yep. Zero chance this will ever be used to stalk anyone or find out if they’re going to an attorney or if they’re going to Planned Parenthood or…. yeah, I’m sure unlike abusing FISA courts or the FBI or the IRS, this will never, ever, super secret double-dare never be abused.

  7. “Highway Trust Fund.”
    Just as safe and secure as the social security trust fund.

  8. every road is a tollway yikes. fine, but I’m getting my money’s worth in a ’70 Nova

  9. Hate it. As inefficient and counter productive as the gas tax is, I don’t really want the feds checking my mileage – as I am sure that will come with far greater levels of intrusion into my life.

    1. Yeah, there is no conceivable way, from a standpoint of privacy or liberty, that this is an improvement on gas taxes.

  10. Need to tax cars based on their mileage? Tax the tires. Even electric cars use tires.

    1. Please explain how that would allow the feds to track all drivers, then we’ll consider it.

      1. There would be no need to track anyone. The simplest, or at least least “intrusive” way, would be to levy a tax on the estimated usable life of the tire when the tire is purchased. These estimates are already being done by manufacturers — it’s how they come up with their warranties. Why would the government intervene if they already have your tax money. Is it as accurate as using actual mileage? Of course not. But it would keep the government out of that part of one’s life.

        1. Interesting idea, and it meets the goals of privacy and correlation with actual usage. OK, spitballing here. Memory says the last time I got bored filling gas and read the tax listings, it was more than a dime and less than dollar per gallon. Suppose it is 50 cents per gallon, and my truck gets 15 mpg; call it 3 cents per mile.

          My tires are rated for around 50,000 miles. That mileage tax would be $1500/four tires, or $375 per tire. Twice as much as the tires themselves! Still, not as much as I thought at first, and only paid every 5 years or so.

          But people would scream bloody murder, and that’s one helluva black market incentive. People near borders would sure cross state lines to save even a fraction of that kind of money, and those near Canada or Mexico would cross the border. Part of the installation service would have to include driving around enough to remove those blue new-tire marks, and scuff them up with some dirt. People might even pay good money for lightly used tires, say 1000 miles.

          1. Yep. Whenever one taxes anything, there will be a black market which arises.

        2. That is a good idea actually

          1. Maybe. I am not sure. One thing I like about it is that people might take notice of such a large tax, and start to ask questions like “How come I paid $3,000 sales tax on my Jeep AND I have to pay $450 per year to register it AND still pay State and Federal taxes at the pump?

            1. Which is why it’s a nonstarter.

              1. Probably true. Our “leaders” don’t want us to know the real cost of government.

        3. Good way to create a black market for tires.

    2. Time to invest in tire shops in Tijuana and Juarez.

      1. +

        I suspect that all new tires imported legally will be “chipped” so they can be identified as such. So, maybe invest in chips? 🙂

      2. If you will use smuggled, unlicensed tires you should tread carefully.

        1. LOL

    3. They’d have to account for the softness and design of the individual tire. Softer high traction tires, typically mounted on sporty cars, wear out much faster than harder low rolling resistance tires, as those typically installed on fuel efficient vehicles. Then there’s the inevitable swapping of tires in northern climes from snow boots to summer treads.

      How would they account for multiple pairs of tires that are rotated on and off any particular vehicle? Would they measure tread depth? How to handle retreads? Finally, would they tax tires as they go on or as they come off?

      It’s not a bad concept but there are lots of variables that need addressing.

      1. “It’s not a bad concept but there are lots of variables that need addressing.”

        The tire’s “expected life,” which is already a known factor, would cover that. Performance tires usually have a lower expected life. Retreads also have an “expected life.” We can be pretty darn sure that a warranty (like the 50,000 miles on the ten-ply rated tires on my Jeep) is based on real-live research already being done by tire manufacturers.

        There would be no need to tax any tire after the purchase. There are already laws which regulate the amount of tread which one must have on a tire for it to be “legal.”

        It doesn’t matter when or where the tires come off or go on, since the tax was paid when the tire was purchased.

      2. They should make the tires out of concrete and the roads out of rubber. The tires would last forever and the roads would be easier to repair.

  11. How the fuck is that a silver-lining? Do you have any conception of how intrusive this will be to enforce? This is would an egregious infringement on our privacy.

    Jesus, you guys are fucking clueless these days.

    1. No, their purpose, and they know this, is to advance the Global Socialist Party agenda while appearing as “opposition”

      1. You’re thinking of Fox News. Reason has never been relevant enough to advance anything.

  12. Yeah, this is moronic.
    A mileage charge is equivalent to a gas tax if all vehicles go on gas. Going to a mileage charge would get the Tesla class.

    Yes, the highways have to be paid for.

    1. More envy.

    2. Toll booths, ez-pass, fast-pass, pass-gas, etc.?

  13. Latest wingnut fake outrage:

    Republicans blast Obama for ‘blatant hypocrisy’ of throwing maskless birthday party
    Hundreds partied without masks at the Martha’s Vineyard birthday bash

    Republicans railed against former President Obama and the Democratic Party’s “blatant hypocrisy” on COVID-19 after hundreds of people partied without masks at his extravagant birthday bash on Martha’s Vineyard over the weekend.

    Obama reportedly had about 200 of his closest friends gathered Saturday night at his sprawling Martha’s Vineyard estate to celebrate his 60th birthday. Photos and videos that were stealthily taken against the event’s photography ban showed Obama and others dancing without wearing face masks.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republicans-obama-hypocrisy-maskless-party

    KENYAN MUSLIN! BENGHAZI!!! DERP! BLOOP! HUNTER BIDEN!!!!!! ARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!

    1. I agree with former president Obama that masks are useless and people should be free to engage socially.

    2. we should all follow Obama’s lead and live our lives. No need for masks, as he and his guests demonstrated.

      1. Any children present? If not, then all OK, right?

    3. It seems like a fair criticism of Obama.

  14. The only fact in this part of the bill is that a politician will get to give a 50 million dollar study to one of his donors.

    I will do it 5 seconds for just $500,000.00 9no government checks accepted); Show up once a year at the DMV to get your mileage recorded.

  15. “The bill working its way through Congress would create a national pilot program to study replacing the gas tax with a mileage-based user fee.”

    That’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever seen written on this website.

    1. The purpose of the tax is to track how much you drive and limit your ability to drive over their prescribed limit. There are so many problems with this, it’s hard to know where to start. They want to kill recreational driving, and they want to force you to move closer to where you work for starters.

      P.S. Fuck you.

      1. Hey, you don’t have to spend hours every day at a website you don’t like.

        1. I know right. Maybe he enjoys the actual libertarians commenting here (your company obviously not included).

          Weren’t you promoting everyone to go to quora. And then promoting everyone to go to glibs?

      2. With the ever expanding pandemic of variants they’re looking for eternal mandatory telecommuting so anything beyond the local grocer will mean a 220% surcharge per mile.

      3. Like a sports league salary cap but on miles driven.

        1. With a luxury tax, of course. But it won’t be 75 dollars.

    2. “That’s the stupidest shit I’ve ever seen written on this website.”

      You were here for Shikha. Stop lying.

      1. lol – excellent point.

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    1. Does your fake scam employer require vaccinations?

      1. The day I see a story about work from homers being required to be vaccinated is the day I start promoting the million wood chipper march.

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  18. Owners of Hummers rejoice.

    Taxed on distance instead of gas usage? Let us all run out and upgrade to muscle cars

    1. There will be exemptions for the “correct” cars.

      1. They will factor in the vehicle weight and emissions, by which time, if they do it right, it will approximate a gas tax.

  19. For most of its history, the federal government was able to pay for all its highway spending through federal excise taxes on gasoline—that is, taxes paid by people using the highways. But over the past decade, highway spending has outpaced gas tax revenues, thanks to increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles, slower post-recession growth in auto travel, and the diversion of gas tax revenue to transit.

    So govt’s failure to properly manage a core responsibility is now the taxpayer’s fault? No one told govt to divert tax funds to other things..

    1. Actually it would be the GOP’s fault – their tax cuts for the rich have done wonders for those people, this is why they came up w/this mileage tax. Fox repukes were whining about this republican idea, projecting it onto the democrats as being haters of rural drivers.

      What’s funny is how people here think that they will be able to fool the vehicles’ computer systems. Many new car manufacturers are fighting for the right to never sell a new car based upon the intellectual property defense of their computer systems.

      1. Taxing people for driving is Green New Deal bullshit, and soaking the rich to distribute their income is socialist. If you want to spend other people’s money, do something of value for them, and they’ll give it to you willingly, you lazy, parasitic piece of shit.

        1. And no tax if you take the train. They love trains.

    2. “No one told govt to divert tax funds to other things..”
      No, a majority of voters in at least 51% of the House and Senate districts told their reps to do so. If politicians are shit sandwiches, then we voters have to stop voting for shit sandwiches.

  20. Yeah this is a terrible idea from a privacy perspective.

    But the question remains of how drivers of electric vehicles should pay for the roads that they travel on.

    One way might be to have a tax on the car batteries, roughly equal to the expected miles driven for that battery that would correspond to an equivalent gas-powered car. But that runs into the problem of how to amortize that tax, also taking into consideration possible sale of the car to new owners.

    One way might be to tax the electricity for charging the car, perhaps at charging stations. But it would be difficult to tax the electricity consumed at home for charging the car, separating it from the rest of the household electricity usage.

    One way might be to simply rely more on toll roads. This might be the easiest solution actually, in the modern era.

    1. But it would be difficult to tax the electricity consumed at home for charging the car, separating it from the rest of the household electricity
      Not difficult at all..

      1. Amazing how ignorant to science jeff and white Mike are.

        1. Yeah I have a different meter for my water heater than the rest of the house.

    2. Most states charge more to register an electric vehicle, so you pay your “mileage fee” every time you renew your plates

      1. They also got thousands in rebates. They can pay more in recompense.

        1. And/or the privilege to use the HOV lane.
          Which is stupid, since they are non-polluting. The gas guzzlers should get the HOV lane, to get them off the highway faster. The electric cars should sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

          Actually they should open the HOV lanes to everyone, to speed up traffic flow and reduce pollution. If I had signed up for the California recall soon enough, that would have been one of my campaign planks. Along with reducing California income taxes enough to be competitive with other states.

  21. I’ve got a better idea for funding the Federal Highway System. Why don’t we set up a system of access points, where you could enter for a fee? We won’t call it a tax, maybe something like a toll…

    1. California doesn’t even need access points. They just declare the passing lane an HOV lane, and charge you by getting your license plate on camera.

  22. paying a mileage fee set by the secretary of transportation

    Fuck Pete Buttigieg
    Nope.
    Pete Buttigieg can kiss my ass
    Nope.
    Go to hell, Pete.

    1. I love seeing the intellectually inept trying to give credit to democrats for Repukelicon ideas. I mean how gutless does one have to be to run from their own ideas?
      In 2018, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce proposed phasing in a 25-cent-a-gallon increase in the gas tax over five years to generate nearly $400 billion over a decade.

      “But that wasn’t enough political pressure – or cover – for Congress or President Donald Trump to embrace the idea. Trump’s long-promised “infrastructure week” became a running punch line…Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri, top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told Buttigieg at a hearing last week that he supported creating a vehicle mileage tax to replace the federal gas tax. He has proposed testing a mileage tax on the U.S. Postal Service, with a large fleet of vehicles in urban and rural settings.
      “As a conservative, I strongly believe in the user-pays principle, and I believe that we need to start ensuring that all users pay their fair share for the roads they’re using,” Graves said.” from USA today March 30, 2021.

      If you’re capable of learning: https://www.businessinsider.com/republicans-infrastructure-cost-companies-average-people-gax-tax-congress-2021-4

      1. One of the signs of intellect is the ability to understand humor. Fail.

      2. And I’m not a Republican. Never have been.

        Stupid fuck.

      3. Does Twitter just birth you nutjobs out into the world with your cutesy pet words for folks you dont like? My god i wish you feel real good drinking your kim crawford oblivious to the fact you’re a retarded mindless posting clone

      4. Wrong President now, wipe your chin and catch up.

    2. The best part is that western taxpayers get to pay for East coast subways and trains while we get taxed more for cars.

      1. Don’t worry, everyone will be taxed plenty to finish the bullet train to Bakersfield.

  23. I would support a mileage tax if it actually replaces the gas tax, however I have a feeling we will end up paying the mileage tax on top of the gas tax, with concept of the gas tax transitioning from infrastructure funding to a vice tax

    1. I agree, but only if the mileage is taken from the odometer once a year like they do when I pay excise tax when registering my car. Sure most of us voluntarily carry a tracking device in the form of a cellular phone, but we don’t need more.

      1. Owning a phone isn’t permission to track me.

        1. The Supreme Court begs to differ.

          1. SCOTUS rulings are now optional.

          2. Apple begs to differ too.

  24. “Replace the gas tax!!!??? Yeah, sure.

  25. In general I think usage fees are better than arbitrary taxation. Let’s be honest, this is probably a precursor to a progressive use tax that taxes you more the more you drive, and a setup to strengthen the surveillance state.

    1. Even if you do not actually drive a car, you will pay a usage fee. Every delivery to your home will include a mileage fee. Every grocery item you buy will include a mileage fee. Every service you use will include a mileage fee. Your school taxes will go up to include a mileage fee.

      My goodness, people are happy for others to be taxed when they think they will be excluded.

      Then they will include a road mileage fee rebate for people making under a certain amount each year. High earners will find a way out of paying. The middle class will take a big hit.

    2. the more you drive and the heavier the thing yu drive, the more fuel you burn thus the more fuel tax hyou pay.. it all is self-correcting. So you got tha tpart dead wrong.

      HOWEVER you have the second part spang in the tenring. This IS a plot to have Uncle Stupid’s minions riding shotgun in YOUR car everywhere you go. Phone app tracking yhuo and gummit watching? Nope. I’ll take my bicycle, thanks all the same. Or keep driving my antique Benz that they can NOT put a “device” on because there’s nothing to connect it to. Except the twisitng speedo cable. But I can always disconnect that… or run a parallel one to make the speedo work but not their toy.

  26. That silver lining user fee will tarnish fast when the greenie statists, start setting variable costs to meet their transportation system (public) manipulation agenda.

    1. You’ve heard of a “road diet”? This will start a “mileage diet”.

      1. With a gas tax you can’t tax people at a higher rate if they drive more. With a mileage tax you can: the first 5,000 miles are free, then one dollar a mile up to 10K, then 2 dollars a mile up to 15K, 3 dollars a mile up to 20K, and 10 dollars a mile over 20K. No one needs to drive over 20,000 miles a year….

  27. Hey, this will just be “taxing the people who use the roads”.

    Watch, as the plumber who comes on Saturday morning to fix your leaky toilet charge you a “road mileage” fee in addition to the “weekend call” fee.

    The people who “use” the roads is YOU!

    1. AND we pay by hw much we use it.. vehicle weight affects fuel mileage, and road damage. They go together very closely. Drive farther with a heavier vehicle, pay more tax because it all burns more fuel to get there. I know, I drive an 8000 lb van. It gets 17 mpg. I’d rather drive myMercedes that weighs less than lhalf taht and returns 30 miles per gallon, but then I’d have to have TWO insurance policies but can only drive one at a time. So P eat the higher mileage and road use taxes because the difference isnt enough to save anyting. Costs more.

  28. It’s supposedly been 28 years since they’ve raised the federal gas tax. You can bet when they set the new rates they’ll make up for that on day one. This shit is a bad idea unless you can convince me I’ll pay less.

  29. There is an efficiency factor that is pretty consistent accross all sorts of vehicle and load situations. It is called “tonne miles per gallon”. It also closely approximates the amont of deterioration done to highways in result of loads, speed, miles travelled, etc. SOme modes of transport are far more efficient than others… rail being FAR cheeaper in that department, AND in the man hours per tonne miles as well, than over the road trucks.
    What this factor shows is that the damage done to highways in wa of deterioration in direct result of use by quantity increases as the amount of fuel that is consumed by that method of transport. Thus the per gallon fuell tax IS a very accurate and efficient means of levying an appropriate amount of funds to offset highway use based on weight moved at speed and distance. The current system WORKS< and needs NO new fancy tech toys, monitoring, Daddy n teh back seat….. so the heavy hybrid vehicles get slightly better mileage than the equivalent conventional, but we cannot, from the data given, detarmine HOW MUCH the "estimated damage"by that vehicle costs.

    Now you're talking a government agent riding shotgun every mile driven, more expensive gadgets, the expenseo fothe record keeping, billing, etc, managing the money.the OLD SYSTEM WORKS. But with the newer vehicles it has become obvious that the amount of dmage done is more than the current collection rate. So hike the damn tax rate. Simple enough.
    The 1.8 cents per mile quotedis far less than I'm paying now with the direct fuel tax. That tells me, since the present rate is insufficient, that the new system will fall far short of paying for the present costs.
    How's about some reform in the WAY our highway tx dollars are being spent?

    Thousands of miles of that stupid orange "silt fence' are installed every year, a tedious by hand process labour intensive, and most of it does NOTHING but hire some workers to erect it. Most of it is left behind to be cleaned up at great expense as litter by the local government. ow's about changing the protocol" calling for trhe erecting of that stupid stuff?

    I've seen one guy on a backhoe, likelyh paid about $65.hour, stop and wait whilst one other guy, standing there with a shovel whole the 'hoe has been digging, getting paid union scale at $35 per hour. steps over and wiggles the stick on that shovel for awhile, then stap back and stand there till the next time a little help is eeded. Meanwhile three supes are staring down into the hole, at likley $75 per hour.

    WHy don'tthey hire a COMPEtENT machin operator who can do almost all of the work on his own, and hop down, grab a shovel off the rack for that purpose, and do his own cleanup. Let the other four guys go flip burgers somewhere.

    millions of tose huge plastic barrel type baririers are erected.. every two or three feet apart. WHY so many? Labour to handle them, cost topurchase, the EXPENSIVE trucks tha thaul them about, when fewer than a third of them are really necessary. How blind and stupid do you think motorists are, anyway? A barrel very ten feet conveys the same message as one every two…. at twenty precent the cost.

    Funny I don' t see these forms of waste (except for the stupid silt fence) on provate sector construction projects. The gummit projects are magnets for sandbaggig, waste, over-manned, divisioin of labout waste, etc. I've watched major projects taking years, and almost cry over the billioins of tax dollars wasted on them each year. Trim things up, make the projects more f=efficient by dumping the sandbaggin, g dupication, waste, THEN see how much farther our fuel tax dollars willl travel. If we'd do THAT the present raxation rates would be sufficnent.

    1. Having worked roads, the guys are doing right. Guy in the machine needs to stay in the machine, hands at the controls. His rig does most of the work. Guy in the hole is his spotter, testing depth and watching for utilities and hazards. They work together to progress the job without wrecking peripherals. The supers are bouncing between multiple sites and are only there to assess each job and the workers.

      Your own ignorance doesn’t disqualify others.

  30. The only reason people are trying to defend this shit is because they intend to use it to inflict their green scare concerns on the rest of us.

  31. There is no way they *won’t* keep (and increase) a gas tax, given their belief in global warming. So the mileage tax will just be on top of it, despite any promises.

    >But over the past decade, highway spending has outpaced gas tax revenues, thanks to increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles, slower post-recession growth in auto travel, and the diversion of gas tax revenue to transit.

    Those are the reasons? They’re mostly invalid. Diversion of tax revenue is not a revenue problem but a spending problem, and the same thing would happen with a mileage tax. A mileage tax would also be just as affected by declines in auto travel as a gas tax, obviously.

    So the only thing left is the “problem” of increasingly fuel-efficient vehicles. Increase the amount of the current tax, then. It would be politically unpopular, as all tax increases are, but it’s probably the least bad way to go about it if you insist you need more money.

  32. What fucking silver lining? I see more taxes, doubled taxes, privacy intrusions and artificial market manipulation front and center. Where’s the good bits?

  33. Mark my words. This study will result in a per-mile user fee AND a gas tax. They will rename the gasoline tax as some environmental surcharge but a tax by any other name is still a tax. When is the last time the government decided to quit taxing something?

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  35. We have a car and two pick-up trucks and live in a very rural area. (60 miles to nearest McDonalds). The car is used for trips of over 60 miles for groceries, pharmacy items and small necessities. We drive it about 20,000 miles per year. About one third of its mileage is on Federal or Interstate roads. One pickup is used for trips to town for stuff that won’t fit in the car – livestock feed, construction material, hydraulic fluid for machinery and pivot irrigation system, etc. etc. We drive it about 15,000 miles per year. About three fourths of its mileage is on county or state roads. The other pickup is used primarily for moving stuff around our property and occasional trips to the closest towns or for recreational trips to local lakes or streams. We drive it about 9,000 miles per year. It almost never is used on Federal or interstate roads. How is the mileage of these three vehicles going to be allocated so that we only pay for the miles we drive on Federal or Interstate highways ? The more fundamental question is ” Is maintaining a network of highways and bridges in good repair of universal benefit to all the citizens of the US – like port facilities, water treatment facilities and public education?” Everybody benefits immensely from our system of roads and bridges directly or indirectly. There is no reason why the public at large should not be expected to bear the burden of repair and maintenance of that system. The fuel tax amounted to a kind of User Fee by providing funds to state and federal agencies that did the construction, repair and maintenance; but if that is not sufficient, the public at large should bear the cost because at bottom, such infrastructure benefits every person in the US. Substituting a mileage based system will not improve anything. It will just make life more complicated for folks in rural areas and owners of multiple vehicles used for varying purposes. Complexity, of course, exacerbates corruption, so at least we know the purpose here.

  36. ‘….It’s more like what the market would do than the gas tax.. ‘ LOL. The government will increase this ‘fee’ regardless of whether it’s needed or related to ‘roads’. What libertarian would support or trust the government to do this fairly without any market constraints in place, e.g. a balanced budget requirement vs the ability to pile on our backs trillions and trillions of debt? They waited 2 nano seconds after the 1.5 trillion to pass 3.5 trillion.

  37. Taxing drivers, and only drivers, is just business as usual. A silver lining would include a mileage tax on users of transit and rail.

    When we talk about transportation spending, we talk about all modes—highways, transit and rail. But, when we talk about transportation revenue, we only talk about the gas tax.

    1. Even the Reason Foundation begins with the presumption that this is normal.

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