CNS News reported that Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has put forth a proposal to replenish the Highway Trust Fund before it runs out of money next month: HIKE, then abolish the federal fuel tax and replace it with a per-mile “fee.” Blumenauer outlined his plan at the liberal think tank Center for American Progress in D.C. last week:
“The policy development that I’m most excited about and that will reinforce the right practices for the future: After we raise the gas tax, we should abolish it. The time is right to replace the gas tax, because it’s no longer an accurate reflection of road use and benefit because of these wildly changing fuel consumption patterns, and replace it with a vehicle mile travel fee regardless of the choice of vehicle fuel.”
Blumenauer told critics that the vehicle mile fee wouldn’t disproportionately target rural Americans without public transportation access or who need their vehicles for business operations.
“That’s exactly the reverse of reality,” Blumenauer said. “Our continued reliance on single-occupant vehicles in too much of America and on gallons of fuel consumed to pay for it places rural and small town Americans at a significant disadvantage, because today too many of them have no alternatives to driving.”
He did not address how his proposal to tax mileage rather than fuel would do anything to cut their costs compared to the gas tax.