The state of Texas is considering a new legislation that would replace the current gas tax with a mileage tax, known as HB 3418. This proposed bill would charge drivers for every mile they drive, which has been met with opposition and concern from citizens across the state. The bill is being promoted as a mere study to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a mileage tax, but the intent behind it appears to be far more than that.
What is the proposed legislation?
HB 3418 is a proposed legislation in Texas that would establish a task force to study the feasibility of imposing a mileage tax on drivers in the state. The bill aims to replace the state gas tax with a mileage tax that would charge drivers for every mile they drive. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would conduct a pilot program to test the feasibility of the mileage tax, and then submit a report to the legislature summarizing the results. The bill seeks funding for the pilot program from Biden’s infrastructure bill, which has several strings attached.
Why is it controversial?
Many Texans are concerned about the implications of this proposed legislation, which could have far-reaching consequences for drivers in the state. One of the primary concerns is the cost of the mileage tax, which could be much higher than the current gas tax. The proposed legislation also allows for pricing to vary based on the time of driving, type of public highway, proximity to transit, vehicle fuel efficiency, participation in car-sharing or pooling, or the income of the operator. This means that those who can afford to pay more will be charged a higher mileage tax, potentially impacting poorer drivers the most.
Another major concern is the potential for government overreach and infringement on individual privacy rights. The mileage tax would require drivers to have their mileage tracked, which could be done through a variety of vehicle-mileage-counting strategies, including odometer readings, GPS tracking, and other technologies. This has raised concerns about the government having access to personal information and location data, which could be a significant breach of privacy.
The proposed legislation also aims to evaluate the impacts of a vehicle mileage user fee on the economy, the environment, and traffic congestion. This could mean that drivers who operate older, less fuel-efficient vehicles would be charged more, which could have a significant impact on low-income families.
What can citizens do?
Texans who are concerned about the proposed legislation are encouraged to contact their State Representative and voice their opposition to HB 3418. Citizens can call the capitol switchboard at (512) 463-4630 to find their representative’s office phone number, or look it up online. If their voicemail is full, citizens are encouraged to call their representative’s district office.
Opponents of the bill are urging Texans to call their State Representatives and ask them to vote against HB 3418. They argue that a vote for the study is essentially a vote for a new tax, regardless of when or how it is implemented. They also suggest that the proposed legislation is a socialist policy that would give the government total control over citizens’ freedom to travel and implement a radical climate agenda through a mileage tracking system.