President Joe Biden has made no secret of his desire to radically transform the American economy in response to his belief in the existential threat of climate change, but at least one of the more controversial policies floated by his administration has already stumbled at the gate.
According to The Hill, the massive infrastructure bill currently under development by the Biden administration will not contain a mileage tax, despite earlier suggestions from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg that such a measure was indeed on the table.
Fox Business reported last week that Buttigieg was considering the use of a vehicle miles tax (VMT) as a way to pay for Biden’s infrastructure plan, currently estimated to have a $3 trillion price tag. Such a move would impose a tax on individuals for the number of miles they drive and would serve as an alternative to an increase in the gas tax.
During testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Buttigieg maintained, “We’re obviously going to have to come to more solutions if we’re going to preserve the user-paid principle,” and during a Friday chat with CNBC, said that such an option “shows a lot of promise.”
On Saturday, however, The New York Times reported that the upcoming infrastructure package will not include a tax on mileage, citing a spokesman from the Transportation Department, as The Hill noted.
The rapid clarification on the possible implementation of a mileage tax came after critics publicly blasted the notion as something that would place an undue burden on everyday Americans and those who live in more remote parts of the country.
As the U.K. Daily Mail reported, Meghan McCain, co-host of ABC’s The View took to Twitter to slam the idea, calling it a “truly brilliant way to completely screw over lower income and middle class Americans” as well as “every single person living in a rural area who has to drive far to get places!”
California Republican Buzz Patterson, who unsuccessfully ran for his state’s 7th Congressional District seat last fall, tweeted that there may be an even more sinister motivation behind the idea of a mileage tax, opining, “This is just a way for a mandatory tracking device to be put in your car. This right here must be stopped immediately.”
Though it is heartening to see that a proposal as personally intrusive and economically harmful as a vehicle mileage tax was nixed almost as soon as it was floated, it seems all but certain that the administration is ready and willing to take a host of equally outrageous steps to achieve its stated goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.