Democratic Virginia lt. gov. candidate: 'We'll be open for discussion' on vehicle mileage tax

Virginia is studying implementation of a VMT after Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill requiring owners of fuel-efficient gasoline, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles to pay a "highway use fee" each year.

Updated: October 27, 2021 - 11:14pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Hala Ayala, the Democratic candidate for Virginia's lieutenant governor, says the Democratic ticket is "open for discussion" regarding the implementation of a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax.

Ayala is running on the Democratic ticket with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking a nonconsecutive second term.

Virginia's government is currently studying the implementation of a VMT following Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam signing a bill that imposed a "highway use fee," which owners of fuel-efficient gasoline, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles are required to pay each year. The fee is charged on top of yearly vehicle registration fees and the state's annual personal property tax on vehicles.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg previously expressed support for a national VMT as a way to fund President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure proposal. He acknowledged that there are privacy concerns and technological challenges around tracking the number of miles drivers travel. The Biden administration ultimately ruled out implementing a VMT. However, the infrastructure bill that passed the Senate, which Biden helped negotiate, includes a pilot program for a VMT.

McAuliffe and Ayala have not publicly stated their position on a VMT. Ayala was asked if the Democratic ticket for governor supports implementing a VMT.

"Let's see what that study brings," she replied. "I don't like to speculate on any legislation or any result, so let's talk about that when we see the results of that piece of legislation, but I know, as a working family member, I sat in the car for two hours going back and forth to work," Ayala said on Friday. "Not only are we talking about just the time that you spend, the quality of time, but the cost and what that means to every working family across the commonwealth, so we'll be open for discussion. Our commonwealth has always been open for discussions to make progress for every commonwealth citizen."

The Virginia lieutenant governor is the second-ranking official in the state government and head of the state Senate. Ayala was elected to the House of Delegates in the 2017 election. She is currently the chief deputy whip in the House of Delegates. She's running against Republican Winsome Sears, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in the House of Delegates from 2002-2004. 

Just the News Spotlight