Last week, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood promoted the idea of taxing drivers based on vehicle miles traveled as a way to add revenue for the Highway Trust Fund, which nearly ran dry last year. Concerned LaHood was getting ahead of the president, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Friday said a VMT tax "is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration." LaHood also told reporters that tolling and increased use of public-partnerships are among the "five or six creative ideas" out there to augment gas tax revenues.
Last year, the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission called for eventually moving to a VMT tax to fund highway spending, and later this week the Infrastructure Financing Commission, also chartered by Congress, is expected to offer a similar recommendation. Is a VMT tax the best long-term approach to funding our national surface transportation system? Should it eventually replace the gas tax altogether? And what about other forms of user fees and creative financing mechanisms (including President Obama's National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank) -- where should they fit into the mix?
-- Lisa Caruso, NationalJournal.com