Rep. DeFazio to Propose VMT Pilot Program

Incoming House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said Dec. 5 that he plans to propose a national vehicle miles traveled (VMT) pilot program.

Speaking at an event, Rep. DeFazio said, "I'm going to propose that we have a national VMT pilot, allow people to opt in, then they'll get a rebate for the estimated gas tax you would have paid.”

Rep. DeFazio added that a VMT should include congestion pricing and acknowledged that public privacy concerns still had to be overcome.

Congressman DeFazio’s home state of Oregon became the first state to establish a voluntary per-mile vehicle tax as an alternative method for infrastructure funding when the Oregon State Legislature overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 810 in 2013.

Under the program, which launched in 2015, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) assesses 1.5 cents per mile for up to 5,000 cars and light commercial vehicles. ODOT issues an equivalent gas tax refund to those who volunteer for the fuel tax alternative.

Revenues collected from the usage charges are deposited into the State Highway Fund, with 50 percent allocated to ODOT. The remaining 30 percent and 20 percent are distributed to counties and cities, respectively.

ODOT also established methods for recording and reporting the number of miles that registered vehicles travel on highways, while also considering the privacy of the vehicle users and security of the technology tracking the per-mile data.

Rep. DeFazio has said that a major infrastructure package funded be real dollars will be his first order of business in January.

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