Texas House Votes in Favor of Mileage Tax Study to Fund Transportation Needs

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Two lane highway at dusk in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, Texas

The Texas House of Representatives has approved legislation to explore the possibility of implementing a mileage tax on drivers in the state. While the Texas GOP opposes a mileage tax, around half of House Republicans voted in favor of the preliminary approval of House Bill 3418, which was authored by Democratic State Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg and co-authored by Republican State Rep. Terry Wilson of Georgetown. The bill proposes a pilot project to study the implementation of the mileage tax, which would collect an additional $10 billion a year for highway construction and maintenance.

During the House floor debate, Canales acknowledged concerns about tracking devices being added to vehicles, but he downplayed privacy questions, saying that “we’re all already being tracked.” Canales said the bill instructs the Texas Department of Transportation to “find the least intrusive way to preserve our right to privacy” while implementing the tax.

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While the original proposal required all pilot program participants to have on-board mileage-tracking equipment added to their vehicles, the version approved on Thursday says the study will evaluate “a variety of vehicle-mileage-counting strategies, including odometer readings, administered in a manner TxDOT considers appropriate.”

Republican State Rep. Wilson dismissed concerns raised by constituents as “conspiracy theorists” and “nonsense,” while Canales said that the state needs to find a way to fund transportation into the future, as the current methods are not working. The bill requires a final vote of approval in the House before moving to the Senate for possible consideration.

Source: Texas Scorecard

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