With the cost of building and maintaining highways and mass transit outstripping the money collected from fuel taxes, and no appetite in Washington to raise gas taxes, many transportation and construction groups say it's time to redesign the way people pay for their transportation system. A leading alternative is a tax on vehicle-miles traveled.
The idea is likely to come up next week at a Senate Finance Committee hearing, chaired by Montana Democrat Max Baucus, on ways to pay for future infrastructure. The Congressional Budget Office talked up the idea, as did a group commissioned by Congress to explore transportation financing. Even the Obama administration floated the idea as part of a draft reauthorization of the highway funding bill, though the White House has since distanced itself from the idea.
The Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune lays out some key pros and cons in the debate over taxes on vehicle-miles traveled.