VMT Useful in Infrastructure Funding, Study Says

Truck on Oregon highway
Jeff Kraus/Flickr

A fee that would charge drivers for the miles they travel would help boost the Highway Trust Fund, the American Action Forum determined in a study published April 24.

“Implementing a mileage-based tax in place of the current gas tax would help to restore stability to the [Highway Trust Fund]. Vehicle miles traveled have been growing at a greater rate than motor fuel use since the gas tax was last raised,” according to the group.

The Washington-based think tank highlighted efforts in Oregon, where transportation officials are evaluating potential benefits that would stem from a mileage-based user-fee program to pay for the transportation system.

VMT also was recently touted by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers. In their annual economic report, the council noted: “One innovative approach is to consider supplementing or replacing fuel taxes altogether with a user fee more closely related to a consumer’s use of the system, such as, in the present context, a tax on vehicle miles traveled.”

The trust fund’s authorization expires in three years. The account relies on revenue from the national tax on fuel, and it is used by the U.S. Department of Transportation to assist states with maintenance and construction projects.