Pete Buttigieg suggests taxing drivers by the mile to pay for infrastructure bill

FILE - Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science...
FILE - Transportation Secretary nominee Pete Buttigieg speaks during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.(Ken Cedeno/Pool via AP)
Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says that a mileage tax in order to pay for future infrastructure bills shows “a lot of promise.”

He made the comment Friday during an interview with CNBC.

This after President Joe Biden announced plans for a 3-trillion-dollar infrastructure overhaul, a cornerstone of his “Build Back Better” initiative. The money would go towards developing roads, hospitals and green energy systems across the country.

When asked if a mileage-based-tax could be used to help pay for this initiative, Buttigieg suggested that it’s not off the table.

“So, I think that shows a lot of promise,” the transportation secretary said. “If we believe in that so-called ‘User Pays’ principal, the idea that how we pay for roads is you pay based on how much you drive.”

“The gas tax used to be the obvious way to do it,” Buttigieg continued, “it’s not anymore. So a so-called vehicle-miles-travel tax or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it.”

His comments would be criticized by some on the Left and Right, including Sen. Bernie Sanders’ former national press secretary, who wrote: “TFW [that feeling when] you’re concerned that student debt cancellation will unfairly benefit rich kids but love to tax folks who can’t afford to live close to work.”

Emily Zanotti, a writer for The Daily Wire, also went after Buttigieg, writing in a tweet: “Has he considered that lower-income communities and minorities would be disproportionately impacted by this nonsense policy? Hahaha of course he hasn’t.”

In the interview, though, Buttigieg stated that all of his proposals “need to be balanced” and that, in regards to infrastructure, “it’s a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment.”

Buttigieg would also say that “there is near-universal recognition” that a broader economic recovery will require a national commitment to fix and transform America’s infrastructure.

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