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Mileage tax study, not actual mileage tax, proposed in infrastructure bill

September 29, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: President Joe Biden has called for a “driving tax” that is estimated to be 8 cents per mile.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The administration has not proposed that tax. A provision in Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill before Congress would establish a national study to assess how such a tax could be implemented. It would not actually enact that tax, nor it does not outline a rate of 8 cents per mile.

THE FACTS: As members of Congress mull a bipartisan, $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was approved by the Senate in August, social media users are misrepresenting one aspect of the massive legislation.

An image repeatedly shared on Facebook shows a screenshot of a Newsmax report on “Biden tax increases” that refers to a “driving tax.” The screenshot shows bullets saying “per-mile user fee,” “estimated to be 8 cents per mile,” and “amounts vary depending on vehicles.”

Text above the screenshot adds the: “Just to put this in perspective, if you drive 26,000 miles X 0.08 per mile = $2,080.00. [now get mad].”

But the Biden administration has not proposed such a mileage tax, as the image falsely suggests.

What has been proposed is a pilot program that would study the mechanics of such a tax, said Andy Winkler, director of infrastructure projects at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

That program — a “National motor vehicle per-mile user fee pilot” — is included in the infrastructure package still before Congress.

“It is not a tax, it is not on everybody and it is voluntary,” Winkler said.

The idea, he said, is that volunteers with passenger and commercial vehicles across the country would participate in the program that would provide insights into how such a per-mile fee could be collected. Such a tax has been weighed as a potential replacement for the gas tax, he said.

Likewise, Ulrik Boesen, a senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, said in an email the “purpose of this program is to study [vehicle miles traveled] taxes to understand how they could work.”

The proposal for the pilot program also does not include an “8 cents per mile” rate, or any rate for that matter, Boesen said.

It’s unclear why that specific rate was referenced. An inquiry to Newsmax about its report was not immediately returned.

Boesen noted that a proposal floated in Pennsylvania suggests using a tax of 8.1 cents for each mile traveled, among other changes, and phasing out the state’s gas tax.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.