Secretary Pete Buttigieg Walks Back Mileage Tax Plans After Backlash

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg backtracked Monday due to backlash after saying Friday a mileage tax to fund President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill “shows a lot of promise.”

CNN commentator Jake Tapper followed up Monday on Buttigieg’s past assertion, asking him, “You said also that a mileage tax showed, ‘a lot of promise’ as a way to help pay for the [infrastructure] plan … Is that under consideration?” Tapper asked.

“No, that’s not part of the conversation about this infrastructure bill,” Buttigieg replied.

The secretary’s response contradicted his statement Friday when he answered the mileage tax “shows a lot of promise.”

I think that shows a lot of promise. If we believe in that so-called user-pays principle, the idea that part of 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; it’s not anymore. So, a so-called vehicle miles traveled tax or a mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be the way to do it.

Buttigieg reversed his statement after The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) clarified Buttigieg’s strategy when it was not well received. “The Secretary was having a broad conversation about a variety of ways to fund transportation,” Ben Halle, a USDOT spokesperson said.

Former National Press Secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) 2020 bid, Briahna Joy Gray, pointed out, “TFW 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.”

Russ Read also opposed the idea. “A mileage based tax clearly favors wealthier people in cities who drive less distance. As usual, it would be working class folks who must drive longer distances who bear the brunt of this policy.”

Breitbart News has reported corporate and capital gains tax increases are, indeed, on the table, which some moderate Democrats oppose. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said in relation to the critics that “We know there will be a range of views on how we get there, but we look forward to working with a broad coalition of members on the critical priorities of the president’s plan.”

Biden will detail his infrastructure proposal that could cost $3 trillion to $4 trillion during a trip to Pittsburgh Wednesday.


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