On February 2, 2021, Jim Burnley was quoted in Bloomberg Government on the push to develop a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax as a replacement for the gasoline tax, which hasn’t been increased since 1993.
According to the article, proposals for a VMT tax have been considered and rejected in years past. Increased investment in electric vehicles, Democratic control of Congress, bipartisan interest, and President Joe Biden’s opposition to increasing the gas tax could jump-start a push to a user-based fee.
In late January, Biden said he intends to replace the government’s fleet with electric vehicles. Although less than 1% of cars on U.S. roads today are electric, major auto manufacturers have announced plans to sell only zero-emission models by 2035. Those industry announcements are game changers in the push for VMT fees because an increasing number of vehicles won’t need to pay the gas tax, and that could lead to fairness issues, said Burnley.
“It’s long overdue. It has been much discussed in transportation policy circles for at least 20 years,” Burnley said. “We’re past the point where we should have started a serious pivot to a VMT.”