The tax on miles is actively supported by politicians. However, in the field of cargo transportation, many are against.
Tax Foundation, an independent tax company, says that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) toll is “much better to capturing the externalities and to approximating the road maintenance cost of each driver.”
Kentucky, New Mexico, New York and Oregon are already levying mileage-related tax on commercial trucks. At the federal level, the VMT tax on trucks could replace existing taxes, which are credited to the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) for the maintenance of bridges and roads.
According to the CBO, of the four states with truck VMT fees, Kentucky charges a flat rate of about 3 cents per mile, while three other states that vary by truck weight ranging from 1 to 29 cents per mile.
The American Trucking Association (ATA), which supported the HTF’s fuel tax hike, has long been wary of the federal VMT tax on trucks.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear warned of the high costs and problems with tax tracking via ELD.
“Nor do the requirements provide an ability to broadcast data to taxing authorities. Furthermore, most commercial vehicles – 72% – are not required to be equipped with recorders,” Spear said. He also considered that it would take another ten years before the full VMT tax implementation.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg noticed that the main difficulty was that vehicles became more fuel-efficient: “The gas tax was the simplest way to have a user fee because we used to know for a fact that the more you drove, the more gas you’d use. Now it’s not that simple.”