Taxing drivers by mile “unwaveringly unpopular”

Recent surveys suggest Americans do not like the idea of having to pay per mile driven:

The Mineta Transportation Institute, which has polled the public on a variety of tax questions for the past seven years, found that the mileage tax was “unwaveringly unpopular.” In the latest survey, which covered 1,500 people and was released this month, the institute found that support ranged between 23 percent and 48 percent, depending on how the question was framed. More people liked the idea if the mileage tax varied by how much a car pollutes…

According to the latest Mineta survey report, authored by Asha Weinstein Agrawal and Hilary Nixon, which was presented this month at the Commonwealth Club of California, between 31 percent and 75 percent of people supported increasing the gas tax — the higher figure if it was dedicated to maintenance.

While majorities may dislike a tax per mile driven, it sounds like more support could be garnered depending on how the tax is structured. Require each car to be tracked by the government via GPS? Dislike. No breaks for smaller vehicles or more fuel-efficient cars? Dislike. The money collected via the new method of taxation funneled away from road maintenance? Dislike.

In other words, this is likely to happen in the coming years but there will be a lot of negotiations as well as attempts to make this more palatable to voters.

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