UPDATED 9:55 AM PT – Tuesday, March 30, 2021
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg appears to be walking back on his department’s mileage tax proposal. In an interview Monday, he denied the administration was considering taxes on gas and mileage as part of Joe Biden’s sweeping infrastructure plan.
When asked whether a a mileage tax could be promising as a way to help pay for the infrastructure plan, Buttigieg said he wanted to make it clear that prospect was “not part of the conversation” about bill.
His comment came after he faced backlash for expressing support for a mileage tax while claiming the proposal would be a sustainable funding stream. When previously asked about a mileage base tax, Buttigieg mentioned that it “shows a lot of promise.”
“If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive, the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it,” he stated. “It’s not anymore…a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax or a mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be the way to do it.”
Car mileage tax trial balloon becomes a lead balloon. Butagigi strikes again and fails again. He is obviously way over qualified for the job.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) March 29, 2021
However, critics warned of its impact on lower income households while increasing taxes for middle class Americans who drive long distance for work. Meanwhile, Biden is expected to unveil his infrastructure plan on Wednesday.