From the Right



The Freedom to Drive

Terence P. Jeffrey on

When President Barack Obama named retiring Republican Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois to serve as his administration's secretary of transportation, LaHood brought with him a vision for changing the way Americans moved from one place to another.

It would start with empowering the government to monitor how many miles they drove.

"We should look at the vehicular miles program where people are actually clocked on the number of miles that they traveled," LaHood told the Associated Press in a Feb. 19, 2009 interview.

"What I see this administration doing is this -- thinking outside the box on how we fund our infrastructure in America," he said.

Even the Obama administration, however, did not fully embrace what LaHood was suggesting,

At the White House press briefing the next day, a reporter from the Associated Press asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about LaHood's idea.


"Can I ask about gas taxes versus miles driven taxes?" the reporter asked Gibbs.

"Sure," Gibbs said.

"Secretary LaHood told AP in an interview that he thinks we should look at this, going to miles driven taxes," the reporter said. "But someone -- a spokesman over at the department said, no, that is not and will not be administration policy. Which is it? And has the president weighed in on this?"

"I don't believe the president has," said Gibbs. "I can weigh in on it and say that it is not and will not be the policy of the Obama administration."


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