"Can I Have a Road Usage Fee with that 15-cent Gas Tax Increase, Please?"

Don't ever accuse Rep. Earl Blumenauer of not thinking big. Accompanying his gas tax increase bill, he has proposed a bill to study ways to charge drivers by the miles they drive. One takes care of the funding problem now, the other in the future.

2 minute read

December 5, 2013, 9:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid


"Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require the government to study the most practical ways of taxing drivers based on how far they drive, in order to help fund federal highway programs," writes Pete Kasperowicz.

This legislation is in addition to the gas tax increase bill we posted on Tuesday.

HR 3638, the 'Road User Fee Pilot Project Act', "is similar to an idea he proposed in a bill last year [also posted here] which called on the Treasury Department to study the viability of a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax [or VMT fee]," writes Kasperowicz.

"As we extend the gas tax, we must also think about how to replace it with something more sustainable," Blumenauer said Tuesday. "The best candidate would be the vehicle mile traveled fee being explored by pilot projects in Oregon and implemented there on a voluntary basis next year."

Oregon completed two pilot projects [see final report (PDF)] before passing legislation last July that will implement the nation's first VMT fee program, presumably in the summer of 2015, though, as Congressman Blumenauer stated, it is voluntary and limited to 5,000 vehicles.

The congressman held his press conference on Wednesday for "H.R. 3636: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the excise tax on gasoline, diesel, and kerosene...". He did not present H.R. 3638, the VMT Fee study bill, with it. One user fee was enough. As we have posted here on many occasions, there is formidable political opposition to increasing user fees of any kind.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 in The Hill's Floor Action Blog

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