Unveils Vehicle Miles Traveled Pilot Program

Washington, DC—Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore) today introduced legislation that would fund a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) pilot program to examine a new source of funding that would help make up for the highway trust fund deficit, which the Department of Transportation estimates will hit $5-7 billion this August. The legislation calls on the Department of the Treasury to undertake a series of studies to demonstrate the viability of a VMT revenue source in every state, and it reflects a successful pilot program undertaken in Oregon.

“We cannot wait to invest in our nation’s roads, bridges, and public transit,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “America’s infrastructure needs critical investments now, and with the highway trust fund flirting with a dangerous deficit, we need innovative solutions that will create a steady source of revenue. Oregon has successfully tested a Vehicle Miles Traveled fee, and it is time to expand and test the VMT program across the country. A VMT system can better assess fees based on use of our roads and bridges, as well as during times of peak congestion, than a fee based on fuel consumption. It is time to get creative and find smart ways to rebuild and renew America’s deteriorating infrastructure.”

The Oregon VMT pilot program charged drivers for the number of miles they traveled rather than the fuel they consumed.  The test was convenient for drivers, protected personal privacy, and proved to be easily administrable. 

This concept was also endorsed by the two blue ribbon commissions established in the prior transportation authorization.  The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission noted that a VMT charge is the “the most promising alternative revenue measure” to our existing gas tax, while the National Surface Transportation Infrastructure Financing Commission reported that “a charge for each mile driven . . . has emerged as the consensus choice for the future.”

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Media Contact: Erin Allweiss
July 23, 2009
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