San Diego County Weighs VMT Proposal

San Diego County could tax developers based on projected vehicle miles traveled as part of a new CEQA requirement that replaces Level of Service with VMT.

1 minute read

February 4, 2022, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


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Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

As reported in an article from KUSI, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors is weighing a proposal to implement a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax to fund transportation projects in the region and encourage drivers to switch modes. "Essentially, the idea is to raise the tax rate on new development based on the average Vehicle Miles Traveled for the residents."

"​​Under the Vehicle Miles Traveled proposal, housing developers will be taxed an additional $10,000 to $22,000 per mile. The longer the average drive of tenants in the development is, the more they will be taxed."

Critics argue this will raise the cost of housing. As the article states, "In the middle of a housing crisis where prices are skyrocketing, many are questioning why this tax would be supported, but Democrats believe getting people to drive less is much more important because of 'climate change.'"

The change follows revised California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) regulations passed in 2017 that replace level of service (LOS) with VMT in transportation impact analysis for new projects. Supporters of a VMT tax argue that the shift from a gas tax is necessary as the rise of electric vehicles means lower gas tax revenues.

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