Federal Highway Bill Extends User Fee to Electric Vehicles

It was bound to happen sooner or later. The government, realizing less revenue from taxing gasoline by the gallon because vehicles are more fuel-efficient, or don’t use gas at all, is looking for alternative ways to collect money to pay for transportation infrastructure.

Several states including Oregon have considered taxing vehicles by the mile. Now, the United States Senate has proposed a use fee that specifically includes electric vehicles as part of a transportation bill that Congress is trying to pass before July 31, when current funding of the Highway Trust Fund runs out.

The U.S. Senate’s long-term transportation bill called the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy (DRIVE) Act is proposed to help fund and modernize the nation’s infrastructure and transportation systems.

Ensures All Users of the Roads Pay Their Fair Share

The DRIVE Act, H.R. 22, includes user-based alternative revenue mechanisms that keep a user fee structure designed to support the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund.
The following line is in the summary from the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee:

Extends new user fee to electric vehicles: The DRIVE Act ensures all users of the roads and bridges pay their fair share with a new federal share program initializing new state controlled user fees.

The Senate bill retains a provision for national electric vehicle charging corridors and deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in those corridors by the end of fiscal year 2021. There is apparently no provision to address workplace charging at Federal facilities as was once considered by the previous Congress via the EV-COMUTE Act.

The Senate may vote on the 1,030-page DRIVE Act as early as this weekend according to the Senate Majority Leader.


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