Thursday, May 5, 2011
If you live in the west or southwest, where distances between home and work are the greatest, get ready to be penalized by Dear Leader.
In an elitist scheme hatched by the Obama administration, drivers would be taxed based on how many miles they drive.
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.
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. The plan is a part of the administration’s Transportation Opportunities Act, a draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.
Anticipating outcry from the American public, the administration tried to distance itself from the proposal. The White House, however, said the bill is only an early draft that was not formally circulated within the administration.
However, a March Congressional Budget Office report supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles 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.
The administration seems to be aware of the need to prepare the public for what would likely be a controversial change to the way highway funds are collected. For example, the office is called on to serve a public-relations function, as the draft says it should “increase public awareness regarding the need for an alternative funding source for surface transportation programs and provide information on possible approaches.”
Such a scheme would penalize American workers least able to afford to live inside densely populated urban cores where home prices are the highest. They’re forced to live in outlaying suburbs where housing is the most affordable. This is especially true in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles.