NEW YORK — If you’re a motorist, the feds have you coming and going.
And now you might have to pay the price, as President Joe Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg ponder whether to tax you for every mile that you drive.
That’s right: Your personal vehicle will become like a taxi, with the meter always running. They’ll tote up the miles you drive and charge you accordingly.
Buttigieg, the failed 2020 presidential contender, told CNBC on Friday that taxing motorists for every mile they travel “looks very promising” as a way to fund President Joe Biden’s $3 trillion infrastructure spending plan.
This on top of a potential increase in gasoline taxes themselves. Hello, $3 a gallon!
So they’ll fix the roads and bridges and then charge you a tax to use every inch of them. After all, you’re putting wear and tear on that infrastructure every time you drive.
Only in America.
But here’s the real punch line: Let’s say you totally buy into the green agenda being pushed by Biden and the Democrats.
You think fossil fuels are bad for Mother Earth. Emissions cause global warming. Fossil fuels pollute the air we breathe. Big Petroleum and the industry’s big money have too much control over the government.
So maybe you buy an electric car. Or maybe you drive a little bit less. Maybe you take mass transit.
Here’s what you did: You deprived the federal government of revenue from gasoline taxes. And we need that revenue for roads and other infrastructure. The feds have plans on how to spend it before they even have it in hand.
They’ll have to replace that revenue somehow. So they’ll tax you for every mile that you drive.
And you thought that you were doing something positive by getting an electric car. Well, you might be helping the environment in some microscopic, incremental way.
But you’re still going to have to pony up to Uncle Sam. Joke’s on you.
Think of how unfair this is to people who live in rural or sparsely populated areas and have to drive miles upon miles just to get to the supermarket or to do basic business.
Never mind the intrusiveness of having the government know everywhere you go. Not that we’re not close to that anyway with cellphone technology.
It also puts a big paradox out there. Because we know that Buttigieg and other Democrats don’t just want to tax motorists, but want to drive them off the roads entirely.
Buttigieg said as much a few weeks ago, saying that roads aren’t just for cars, they’re for people.
We’re seeing a lot of this sentiment in New York City, where prior calls for motorists to “share the road” with pedestrians and cyclists have now became demands that motorists be banished entirely.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers last August not to buy cars. Cars are the past, the mayor said. The future is mass transit, cycling and hiking.
But where is all the tax revenue going to come from to pay for mass transit if you drive motorists off the road? Some of that transit funding comes out of the gasoline tax as well.
I have the same question for all the city and state greedheads who are already counting the tax revenue from the congestion pricing program. How much can you really hope to rake in if you keep discouraging people from driving?
And mark my words: It’s a very short trip from taxing you for every mile that you drive to charging you to park your car on your own residential street. That’s coming too.
Here’s what we’ll be left with: No place to drive our cars, but without the necessary revenue to build mass transit that can truly be a replacement.
Only in America.
(Tom Wrobleski is a columnist for the Staten Island Advance.)