Pay Per Mile: A Timely Tax Idea, Or A Privacy Threat? - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Pay Per Mile: A Timely Tax Idea, Or A Privacy Threat?

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MSNBC.COM - As transportation officials struggle to raise enough tax dollars to maintain the nation's highway and transit systems, a tentative new proposal could put Americans on the hook for every mile they drive.

Department of Transportation officials have drafted legislation that would study a vehicle tax to track how far drivers travel and charge them by the mile. The proposal would create a "Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office" to conduct trials of the concept.

The draft proposal was first reported this week in Transportation Weekly, a trade publication. A White House spokeswoman told The Hill newspaper that the draft "does not represent the views of the president" and is in no way an administration proposal.

The White House put the brakes on a similar proposal floated early in Obama's presidency, with then-spokesman Robert Gibbs said that a mileage tax "is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration."

That didn't stop operatives at the National Republican Congressional Committee from asking in a press release Thursday whether Democratic House members will support "President Obama's new driving tax."

The idea does have the support of some experts, who say it's a fairer way of charging drivers for the bridges and roads they use every day.  

A tax or fee on miles driven could possibly supplant the gasoline tax, which has lost a third of its purchasing power since it was last raised by Congress in 1993. Since 2008, according to a Congressional Budget Office report, the money available in the highway trust fund has not been enough to cover federal spending on highways, requiring an additional injection of about $30 billion from the federal treasury. >>>Click here to read more

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