By on February 26, 2009

Shortly after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressed his enthusiasm for a nationwide pay-per-mile tax scheme, the White House reacted by denying any plans for the car-monitoring fee system. “[Pay-per-mile] is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told the WaPo at a press conference, kicking off a merry little game of gotcha. “So was Secretary LaHood speaking out of turn here?” an AP reporter asked at the briefing. “I would direct you to Secretary LaHood on that,” Gibbs said. “Well, we actually interviewed him,” the reporter noted. “Well, call him back,” Gibbs said. Transportation Department officials later “clarified” that LaHood’s comments “were part of a long interview about a range of transportation issues and that he never specifically advocated taxing drivers by the mile.” Well that clears everything up now, doesn’t it?

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26 Comments on “White House: LaHood So Crazy...”

  • avatar

    But I am sure the President is for other indirect “pay-per-mile” schemes. The President will call them “energy investment taxes” or something innocuous like that. BTU tax. Cap and trade. There are many forms of it. The President loves taxes.

  • avatar

    But… but… he wears an American flag lapel pin!!

    I feel so betrayed.

  • avatar

    Ray LaHood is a Republican ( ), by the way. He is part of Obama’s inane strategy of finding the most weak-minded, desperate for work Republicans and putting them in his Cabinet to look bipartisan.

    LaHood’s only apparent qualification is that he was on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in the ’90s.

    LaHood’s stance generally fits into the the Republican principle/strategy of road privatization.

    The personal freedom part of the Republican Party wants nothing to do with this ( ), but the “I love to play dress up and pretend to be an economist” part of the party loves the idea of charging the unwashed masses for every incremental bit of road usage.

    And tracking people’s every move with GPS is just a side benefit for the crime and punishment/war on drugs branch of the party.

    Although you probably could have guessed it; this guy who wants to track every mile you drive with GPS and charge you for it is from my home state of Illinois. It is really only an evolution of our I-Pass system.

  • avatar

    Just another loser Illinois politician, wanting to make the whole world a giant Illinois Tollway System.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The upcoming CAFE standards will push MPG ratings up pretty high. In theory, this means less gasoline will be sold, and hopefully, reduce our dependency on evil oil, right?

    The problem though, is that our highway maintenance and construction gets funded by gasoline taxes, which are assessed on a per-gallon basis. So the EPA ends up reducing the DOT’s ability to collect tax revenue.

    How long do you think that’s going to last?

  • avatar

    I think the GPS tracking aspect is what they are after, so many side benefits to that. Just ask the UK authorities about the information they glean from 5 million cameras each day.

    Most of the infrastructure is in place already, the only issue is how to implement it on every vehicle without leaving loopholes. If only new vehicles are affected this will not be good for autosales. If it is only implemented in certain states or areas, what happens when out of towners drive through, or decide to stay a year without joining the GPS club? How about motorcycles, they weigh 1/5th of what a car does and use little fuel so how are they going to be priced? Or not>

    This is a really big undertaking with a lot of pitfalls, fortunately they have trillions of dollars to throw at the problem without us being able to say anything about it.

  • avatar

    Rod Panhard

    The loss in gasoline tax revenue will be more than made up for with higher gasoline taxes. Remember – your new President wants to get people to actually buy those high mileage cars, plus he has a massive deficit to pay for. One of the best ways to do that is make gasoline “Europeanly” expensive.

  • avatar

    Tax per mile, ha, thats crazy. This administration isn’t going to tax per mile. They are going to tax per inch. Its amazing how reporters get these things so wrong.

  • avatar

    I guess it’s too late to see if this is yet another corrupt(D) politician who either cheated on his taxes (I’m sure he used TurboTax) or took pay to play bribes like they do it in New Mexico.

  • avatar

    It doesn’t matter – Barrack Hussein Obama plans on having the federal government play pimp on the carbon trading scheme as a way to raise nearly unlimited tax revenue, and hide it in your energy bills, and every item you buy.

  • avatar

    no_slushbox and others…

    as an illinois resident, this man is a republican in title only.
    he is really one of the boys from illinois’ rat pack.
    does it really surpise any of the b ans b that an ill player is about nothing more than “the take?”
    and the every obama apostle has the take as the basic for every piece of legislation.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    “Rod Panhard said:

    The upcoming CAFE standards will push MPG ratings up pretty high. In theory, this means less gasoline will be sold, and hopefully, reduce our dependency on evil oil, right?

    The problem though, is that our highway maintenance and construction gets funded by gasoline taxes, which are assessed on a per-gallon basis. So the EPA ends up reducing the DOT’s ability to collect tax revenue.”

    It will all balance out in the end, just you watch !.

    As the economy worsens even more the loss of gas tax revenue from having higher MPG cars will be offset by small business owners and the general public using gasoline to burn down their buildings, in order to collect the insurance money and to get out of mortgage payments.

    ….And that’s not even including the gasoline that’ll be used in the Molotov cocktails once civil unrest breaks out across the nation. :)

  • avatar

    @ crackers

    That massive deficit was left for him; this, and an economy in a downward spiral. The stimulus bill is a spending bill, I’m not sure why so few people seem to understand that. It’s future generations (like mine) that will have to pay that back, yes. It’s important to remember that we’re the ones who will have to pay back every dollar spent during the past 8 years also (Iraq war anyone?).

    This gas tax is a ludicrous idea (raising taxes during an economic downturn?), but what other solutions exist?

    More government spending?

  • avatar


    His proposal is hardly outside of the Republican’s stance. The idea of gradually privatizing roads and implementing per mile charges is very attractive to many Republicans. In places like Texas, not just in Illinois. And the car hating section of the Democratic party is happy to go along.

    Enthusiasts need a group like the NRA to fight, with both parties, against private roads, toll roads, red light cameras, speed camera, etc. The Germans have something similar to the NRA struggling to maintain the speed limit free sections of the autobahn.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Taxman (The Beatles)

    Let me tell you how it will be
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me
    Cause I’m the taxman

    Should five per cent appear too small
    Be thankful I don’t take it all
    Cause I’m the taxman

    If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
    If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet
    Cause I’m the taxman …

  • avatar

    The pay per mile thing is a loser that the republicans should run from.

    Unfortunately, the plan of the administration is to hide the tax increases on energy from populist supporters by going after the “evil” energy companies.

  • avatar

    Robert Schwartz
    very good!

    you are right, these days.
    today republican has lost its position as “conservative” (not talking morality) and has become a party trying to be as successful as the dems with the public loving spread the wealth vot getting.
    people have learned to love using their vote to take from others.
    but make no mistake about the conservative philosophy verses dliberal.
    its just a lost voice again just like it was way back in the sixties.

  • avatar


    The term “Republican” lost its position as conservative shortly after they approved billions of dollar of legislation to rebuild Iraq while blindly ignoring the domestic agenda.

    There’s no winner in this situation. Obviously no one WANTS GM to fail, the amount of jobs lost and lives ruined would be terrible; however, by the same token no one WANTS to spend taxpayer dollars trying to revitalize a company that failed to get itself into shape over the past decade.

    “People have learned to love using their vote to take from others.”
    You see it that way, there are plenty who see this as taking an immaterial amount from some to help those who have hit hard times.

    Nothing is that black and white.

  • avatar

    Time for the “there’s no free lunch” slogan again.

    Fact: Highway trust fund has input in the form of taxes on gas, truck tires, etc. As the economy goes down, miles driven go down and trust fund sources go down. As fuel economy goes up, gas taxes go down.

    Fact: Concrete etc. are getting more expensive.

    So we have some choices to make. Like raise taxes on fuel etc., use money from general revenue, converting ‘free’ roads into toll roads, etc. Take your pick, but we gotta come up with more money or the roads are going to hell. It has nothing to do with the party in power.

  • avatar

    did I read what you said correctly?
    that i might see it one way, while others might see it as taking an inmaterial amount from some to help others?
    first, what in hell is immaterial?
    do you mean insignificant?
    you simply are, well…simple.

    i just read on this very sight (i think it was here) where the amount per american is over $100 per.
    you are telling me $100 per american is insignificant?

    and this isn’t the total bill…its just this recent grab.

    you are trying to tell this b&b crowd that this is not only justified, but moral?

    this year alone i paid almost 2.7 million in taxes.
    now, tell this group how much you donated toward your fellow american.

    your clueless.
    and you have been missing robert’s as well as everyone’s points about the bailouts, both auto and banking.

  • avatar


    and once more just so you can grasp…i wasn’t supporting republican.
    if you read again, it was the philosophy of conservatism….and the lost relationship of the two.

  • avatar

    When you have somebody like a John McCain saying he’s the “conservative candidate”, then you know that the party has been watered down.

    Yeah, much like GM’s branding. Funny that similarity is!

  • avatar

    Maybe Mr. La Hood’s next idea will be to then tax us by the KM….when we go metric here in the states. At our current rate of conversion, this will be long past Obama’s time.

    Of course, here in Texas the GOP still rules the state (House, Senate and Governor) so until recently the mantra was “toll it, sell it, or don’t build it” but this has run afoul of citizen protests, especially in the Austin area which added 4 tollways in 4 years and had plans to build tolled lanes on currently free roads until people brought pitchforks to the politicians….The “Good Hair” governor (Molly Ivins’ nickname for Perry – more hair than Blago) even saw his dream of the Trans-Texas Corridor, with it’s humongous swath of Right-of-Way to be sold to Austailian-Sapnish concerns derailed to an extent. The only idea on these highways that garnered some excitement was a clause that paid the state more money if the speed limit was higher – they even built into the one road contract approved for this a clause to permit speeds up to 85 MPH. That part of the highway (SH 130 from Lockhart to Seguin) is just now being started, so it will be a couple of years before see if they really will go that high with the limit.

    There is a plan to raise the gas tax amongst many ideas in our current legislature for paying for roads that will probably fail, leaving us further behind in catching up in infrastructure. Austin is not that large of a city, but with the NAFTA truck traffic and only one main expressway that is toll-free going between Dallas and Mexico we ended up with 4 of the 100 worst traffic jams in the country list this week. Hopefully some of the bailout funds come south to help with these things, but it will probably be a long time before it does us any good, if ever.

  • avatar

    RAy Lahood is of Lebanese decent, and this being the fact, he was invited in 2004 to my university graduation to give a speech. a hlaf hour speech about civility and how people should deal with it.’half the student body fell asleep on their chairs and so did the people attending the ceremony. he buggered off right after he finished his speech.

    now he was then suposedly an expert on civilization and sociological things of that nature, what the hell brought him on to be the Transport Minister in the US of A?

    anyway for the main subject, i think pay per mile is as stupid as it gets in terms of taxing personal transport. dont they already do that by taxing fuel? the more you drive the more you pay?

    i think it should be the opposite, if you drive more than 20 miles a day then you get tax cuts on the fuel….

    Americans already pay way too much taxes to be taxed on an already taxed task, (did you get your tongue in a twist?)

    just wondering, since the government (people) is lending ompanies like gm money, and will in the future take it back from the people themselves (eventually)as well as Gm. why dont they stop all taxes paid on everthing and i mean everything for a year or so, sustain themselves on loan, then a year or so later, when people have injected enough cash back into the economy (minus tax) they can start taxing again to cover government running cost plus 5% extra to cover the loan they took to cover themselves over the 12 to 18 month of tax free operation.

    i know i’m off base but what the hell….

  • avatar

    Random pic caption: “You gotta play ’em like little violins…”

  • avatar


    Immaterial is an accounting term, and yes it essentially means just that; I tend to use accounting terms, as that is my profession.

    It’s costing the average American $100 per? What does that mean exactly? We’re already in quite a deficit, so that figure seems pretty arbitrary.

    You paid $2.7 million in taxes? That’s outrageous, but if you’re paying that much then you must be making quite a bit more than the average American.

    For someone who’s an apparent millionaire, I’d think that you might understand basic grammar. Personally, no, I haven’t given that much in taxes-but my family has lost a son defending the country, for what its worth.

    So tell me-what exactly is the point of all this?

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