BUFFALO, N.Y. — The bipartisan infrastructure bill has already passed in the U.S. Senate and is expected to pass in the House at some point. Rita from Cattaraugus County reached out to us about one piece of the bill.
Is it true hidden in the infrastructure bill is a so-called motor vehicle per mileage user fee?
HR 3684, also known as the "Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act"
No, a motor vehicle-per-mile user fee is not hidden in the infrastructure bill.
WHAT WE FOUND:
If you go to page 502 of the bill it says the Secretary of Transportation shall establish a program to test the feasibility of a road usage fee and other user-based alternative revenue mechanisms to help maintain the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund through pilot projects at the state, local and regional level.
Basically, the High Trust Fund is projected to run out of money by the end of this year and it's funded, in large part, by the federal gas tax. And with more people switching to electric cars, it's clear we won't have the money long-term to repair and replace our roads and bridges.
This per-mile fee idea could help address that. But it's clear in the text of the bill that this is just a pilot program. None of us will actually be paying a per-mile user fee. The bill explains people would volunteer to be part of the test.
The test would require volunteers to record their miles, pay the fees, and then be reimbursed by the government. This pilot program would go through the year 2026 and at that point, if Congress and the president like it, they would have to pass another bill making it into law.
This infrastructure bill simply creates the program.