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Feds Eyeing Pay-Per-Mile Driver Tax, Too – Just Like Olympia!

Federal government looking at possible pay-per-mile driver tax
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The Washington State Department of Transportation believes a pay-per-mile driver tax is feasible. Apparently the feds are interested also.According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), the national budget has the same short-sighted dilemma as Washington state. Because of government-mandated fuel economy standards and the popularity of hybrid cars, gas taxes are not supplying enough revenue to keep up with infrastructure demands.

The Washington Examiner reports if the federal gas tax is kept at current rates, the government fund will eventually run out. The GAO report does not specifically give a date as to when that will happen, but likely within a few years. From the Examiner:

The GAO study is just the latest review of federal spending that paints a grim picture of the nation’s infrastructure. Just keeping spending at current levels, the GAO said, would require a near doubling of the gas tax to 32 cents a gallon, and that would jump to as high as 46 cents should the federal government add spending to fix crumbling infrastructure and build new roads.

The pay-per-mile tax idea was floated during Obama’s first administration, but scrapped over public outrage. But now, says the Examiner, that option is being kept alive by several states — including Washington — and Congress is quietly eyeing it as a viable option.

If a pay-per-mile tax were completely taken off the table, the GAO says generating the revenue needed to maintain roads would require the federal gas tax go up nearly 50 percent from 18.4 cents per gallon to at least 32 cents. Should all of the federal road projects be included, the tax would have to go up 48 cents per gallon!

Washington state’s idea would be to use the pay-per-mile tax to replace the gas tax, which would be gradually phased out.

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