In the past month, for the second time in the two-and-a-half-year-old Obama Administration, discussion of a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) scheme to supplement or replace the gas tax floated up – and then disappeared rather quickly. As reported in Transportation Weekly in early May, about $300 million would be allocated in the Transportation Opportunities Act to study a VMT system. Such a miles-traveled program would charge motorists for actual use of pavement, not how much gas is being used.
“What we’re selling is road space,” Ralph Erickson, division chief of the Highway Funding & Motor Fuels office of the U.S. Department of Transportation, told Pothole.info. “It’s a valuable piece of real estate. But how do we collect a fair price on use?” Erickson said that a fairer system would also account for the weight of vehicles (i.e., as it contributes to wear and tear on pavement) and the time of day that those vehicles travel, otherwise known as congestion pricing.Read More