Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is thinking up new ways to fund infrastructure, and his latest proposal would deal a big blow to American workers.
While speaking with CNBC on Friday, Buttigieg said he liked the idea of a tax based on the number of miles driven to raise money to improve roads.
“What about a mileage-based tax?” CNBC anchor Kayla Tausche asked him during a series of rapid-fire questions about options for raising revenue.
“So, I think that shows a lot of promise. If we believe in that so-called user pays principle — the idea of part of how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive — the gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it,” the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said.
“It’s not anymore, so a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax, or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it,” he said.
The concept is easily one of the most out-of-touch ideas to come from the Biden administration thus far and should not be considered in the slightest.
Gas prices are already on the rise due to OPEC production cuts and increased demand, and Americans do not need an additional expense in order to get to work or school.
More specifically, this would disproportionately hurt people who live in rural areas of the United States.
People in sparsely populated areas have to drive longer distances in general and would end up being taxed the most.
This idea gets warmed over and re-served every single year. In CA, twice a year. You wanna get voted out? Introduce a mileage tax. This is universally hated by people who actually are responsible for their own transportation and lifestyles. https://t.co/X4P4XIvpcT
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) March 26, 2021
In addition, this would be a slap in the face to low-income Americans who commute at any distance because plenty of them struggle just to afford a car in the first place.
Buttigieg himself is from mostly rural Indiana, so you would think he knows about the burden such a tax would impose.
We must invest in repairing and modernizing our infrastructure — but not at the expense of vulnerable communities.
Low-income workers already bear the highest commuting costs.
We cannot ask them to take on an additional financial burden of a tax by the mile. https://t.co/gQvXGumwG0
— Joe Sanberg (@JosephNSanberg) March 26, 2021
No matter how it’s funded, the best way to improve infrastructure would be for federal and state governments to outsource to private companies and offer them additional tax incentives.
Contracting to companies not only would mean a smaller burden to taxpayers but also would be more efficient and would encourage private-sector job growth — something that is incredibly necessary for the recovering economy.
The secretary’s pitch is a shining example of the Biden administration’s desire to “Build Back Better,” but only by taking more money out of Americans’ pockets.