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.
Blumenauer’s bill, H.R. 3638, would set up a Road Usage Fee Pilot Program, which he said would study mileage-based fee systems. He cast his bill as a long-term solution for funding highway programs, and proposed it along with a shorter-term plan to nearly double the gas tax, from 18.4 cents to 33.4 cents per gallon.
“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.”
He said the bill would help answer questions about “how best to implement a vehicle miles traveled [VMT] system,” and said it “looks to the future and helps provide a more stable funding base for the next one hundred years.”
A text of Blumenauer’s new bill was not available as of Wednesday morning. But the concept is similar to an idea he proposed in a bill last year, which called on the Treasury Department to study the viability of a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax.