A secret component of Biden’s new “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” is a shocking plan to punish Americans who drive – taxing them for every mile driven.
The bill directs Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to establish a pilot program to demonstrate a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee designed “to restore and maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF).”
The objectives of the pilot program include:
“To test the design, acceptance, implementation, and financial sustainability of a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.
To address the need for additional revenue for surface transportation infrastructure and a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.
To provide recommendations relating to the adoption and implementation of a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.”
While the new hidden tax is being described as a pilot program which would rely on “volunteers,” the infrastructure measure would also require the Treasury Department to establish a mechanism to collect motor vehicle per-mile user fees from the participants.
The legislation would create a new “Federal System Funding Alternative Advisory Board” to advise Buttigieg on establishing and operating the program. The legislative language in the bill indicated that the advisory board has no end date.
The advisory body would be required to include as members “at a minimum” representatives from state departments of transportation, the trucking industry, data security experts “with expertise in personal privacy,” academic experts on surface transportation, consumer advocates, operators of toll systems, owners of motor vehicle fleets, and tribal representatives.
The advisory body would for some reason also include “advocacy groups focused on equity,” as well as “any other representatives or entities, as determined appropriate by [Buttigieg].”
Buttigieg would also be authorized under the proposal to “carry out a public awareness campaign to increase public awareness regarding a national motor vehicle per-mile user fee.” Funding for the program is established at $10 million each year through 2026.
Buttigieg, whose only previous government experience was serving eight years as mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a city of about 100,000 residents, appears to be a big winner in the more than $550 billion in new spending included in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.
An estimated $274 billion of the $550 billion in new spending goes to DOT, with $105 billion of that being in the form of competitive grants over which Buttigieg has the final say.
Another big winner in the infrastructure bill’s DOT spending is Amtrak, which in a typical non-pandemic era year, receives about $2 billion in federal subsidies.
Under the infrastructure bill, Amtrak would reportedly receive $58 billion.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee offered an amendment to the infrastructure bill in the nature of a substitute for this horrendous program that would, among other things, transfer $119 billion in unused federal money originally meant to help combat the coronavirus to the HTF.
The Lee alternative included reducing the federal gas tax by 11 cents per gallon, simplifying and speeding up National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements on infrastructure projects, and abolishing federal Davis-Bacon wage regulations that require federal contractors to pay prevailing union wages on government projects. The Lee amendment was defeated on a 70–28 vote.
Author: Andrew Lundrom