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What is VMT (and Why Do They Want to Tax It?)

SANDAG's 2021 Regional Plan calls for a new tax based on the number of miles you drive

VMT stands for 'Vehicle Miles Traveled'. It is an acronym for a vocabulary term used in Planning, tabulating the total miles traveled by motorized vehicles on roads and highways.

Taxing county residents by miles driven is an emerging model by which some politicians aspire to re-imagine paying for roads and infrastructure. It is being touted as a replacement model for the gasoline tax, in light of dwindling revenue due to the growing prevalence of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids.

VMT is frequently mis-referred to as a 'Vehicle Mileage Tax.' While the term VMT Tax is more accurate, the euphemistic term used by SANDAG is 'RUC' (Road Use Charge).

We will do a future article on the pros and cons of the RUC model. For now, it is being touted by Progressive politicians as a more equitable, less regressive tax. However, the details of how miles will be tracked, and how taxes will be calculated & charged, and the manner in which they will be collected remain quite hypothetical. We will explore the methods being looked at by SANDAG in another post in the future. You can learn more at: What is VMT? ( Caltrans SB 743 Website


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