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Buttigieg Says No Gas Tax, Mileage Fee to Fund Infrastructure

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 3/29/2021 Keith Laing
a person standing on a cart: A customer wearing a protective mask uses a plastic shopping bag to hold a fuel nozzle while refueling a vehicle at an Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Exxon is scheduled to released earnings figures on May 1. © Bloomberg A customer wearing a protective mask uses a plastic shopping bag to hold a fuel nozzle while refueling a vehicle at an Exxon Mobil Corp. gas station in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., on Wednesday, April 29, 2020. Exxon is scheduled to released earnings figures on May 1.

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg ruled out plans on Monday to increase in the federal gas tax or charge drivers a fee based on miles driven to pay for the Biden administration’s $3 trillion infrastructure plan.

“That’s not part of the conversation about this infrastructure bill,” Buttigieg told CNN on Monday when asked about implementing a vehicle-miles-traveled fee in lieu of taxes paid at the gas pump. “Just want to make sure that’s really clear,” he added. “But you will be hearing a lot more details in the coming days about how we envision to be able to fund this.”

Buttigieg also dismissed the suggestion of a gas tax increase to pay for rebuilding the nations roads, tunnels and bridges but he said measures being discussed “are carefully thought through, responsible ideas that ultimately are going to be a win for the economy.”

The comments comes as the Biden administration prepares to roll out a large infrastructure package Wednesday that is expected to cost as much as $3 trillion.

Read More: Democrats Weigh Capital Gains Tax Hike for Millionaires at Death

A vehicle-miles-traveled program has been suggested as a way to close the yawning gap in federal highway funding that is estimated to be as high as $16 billion this year. That’s because the Highway Trust Fund, which pays for roadway and transit systems, is financed primarily through the federal gas tax, currently 18.4 cent-per-gallon. That only brings in $34 billion per year while federal spending has topped $50 billion annually and has had to be supported by transfers from the general fund.

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