Highway subcommittee chair talks highway usage tax, infrastructure

highway infrastructureRep. Thomas Petri, a Republican from Wisconsin, said a vehicle miles traveled tax — a highway usage fee, essentially — may be a source of revenue for highway funding in the future.

Petri is chairman of the Highways and Transit subcommittee to the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and addressed a meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Wednesday. Like outgoing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood’s speech to AASHTO, Petri said investments in infrastructure are needed to make the U.S. the most efficient and most competitive country in the world.

Part of that will include a March 14 hearing of his subcommittee to determine progress on things like the National Freight Network and other provisions included in the MAP-21 highway bill signed last summer.

The other part of that will include future funding to improve infrastructure and make transportation more efficient, and, moving forward, a fuel tax is not going to be the right approach, as it has been the last century.

“Using the gas tax as proxy for road use is something that worked in the 1950s, but it’s not going to work in the 2050s,” he said.
For more on Petri’s speech, see Overdrive sister site CCJ‘s article, which includes a video of Petri’s address.