The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.
The plan is a part of the administration's "Transportation Opportunities Act," an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.
Obama's proposal seems to follow up on that idea in section 2218 of the draft bill. That section would create, within the Federal Highway Administration, a Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office. It would be tasked with creating a "study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems."
Something else worth noting in the bill is the ways in which revenue would be collected. So far, the CBO has suggested that monitoring equipment be installed in cars to determine how many miles were driven.
Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.
So now the government wants to follow you so that they can tax you.
There are so many problems with this proposal that its hard to know where to begin. Who is going to be hit by this tax increase the hardest? Working families, the very people Obama promised not to raise taxes for. Even if you believe that raising taxes is good policy, its hard to deny that this is another broken campaign promise. In addition, this is an extremely Orwellian way to collect tax revenue. The article reports a White House admission that they would essentially have to use the CBO as a PR tool to "ease" the public into the idea.
This "investment" will receive $200 million through 2017.