US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has said a tax that charges people based on how extensively they drive could be a reality soon, prompting a wave of panic from both liberals and conservatives.
Discussing revenue sources to help finance what are expected to be infrastructure proposals worth trillions in the coming months, Buttigieg said, “I’m hearing a lot of appetite to make sure that there are sustainable funding streams.”
A mileage tax, the transportation secretary said, is a plan that “shows a lot of promise” and could end up helping to finance future infrastructure projects. Instead of people paying taxes based on the amount of gas they consume, they would instead pay the government based on the distance they drive – though there is no guarantee mileage taxes would replace any others taxes, instead likely acting as additional federal funds.
While that could mean people cutting down on travel or digging deeper into their pockets, Buttgigieg claims investment in infrastructure is something people actually get a “return” gain on, vaguely alluding to jobs and positive climate effects.
“When you think about infrastructure, it’s a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment,” he said. “That’s one of many reasons why we think this is so important. This is a jobs vision as much as it is an infrastructure vision, a climate vision and more.”
“The idea that part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive,” Buttigieg said, calling “gas tax” outdated.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says taxing drivers by the mile “shows a lot of promise” and could be a way to fund a big infrastructure overhaul. pic.twitter.com/fkI5nWt7sr
— The Recount (@therecount) March 26, 2021
The former South Bend, Indiana mayor’s words come just as President Joe Biden prepares to reveal sweeping infrastructure plans, saying during the first press conference of his term this week that rebuilding physical infrastructure around the country is a priority for his administration.
The idea of a mileage tax being added to already-loaded tax burdens has many on social media already blasting Buttigieg, as well as the Biden administration, for weighing a policy that could hurt working people.
“[That feeling when] you’re concerned that student debt cancellation will unfairly benefit rich kids but love to tax folks who can’t afford to live close to work,” Briahna Joe Gray, a former Bernie Sanders campaign official, tweeted in reaction.
“Once again, Biden & Secretary ‘Pete’ hurting the poor and middle class most with ‘miles travelled’ tax,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham added.
Others saw the move as one likely beneficial to the Republican Party, as it could swing workers who travel for their jobs away from the Biden agenda.
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