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Published on Jun 29, 2012
Rep. Cravaack offered an amendment to the THUD Appropriations Act of 2013, which would prohibit the utilization of funds by the Secretary of Transportation to research, or implement, a distance-based fee system, commonly referred to as Vehicle Miles Traveled, or "VMT," that would levy a fee on a surface transportation vehicle user based on the distance traveled.
The VMT tax would be yet another unwelcome increase in the cost of driving. The VMT tax is also unnecessary, because the gas tax is already in place for the purposes of funding transportation infrastructure. The federal gas tax is an inexpensive and efficient form of taxation that is collected directly from refineries and importers. By contrast, the VMT tax would be an expensive and inefficient form of taxation that targets each and every driving American. Indeed, a VMT tax would be expensive to implement because every car would need to be fitted with a device that both records miles driven and transmits the information to a government database. This complicated system would cost millions of dollars and raise a number of concerns. For instance, the potential for privacy abuses is a hazard waiting to happen. Government data bases have been compromised in the past, and this government system would be no exception. Proposals for a VMT tax produce strongly negative reactions from the public, and for good reason. Americans don't like paying the gas tax, and they are sure to be even more unhappy having to deal with the administrative nightmare the VMT promises.