Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Sunday gave CBS News' John Dickerson a breakdown of how a bipartisan group of senators haggling with the White House on an infrastructure package aims to pay for their proposal.
For starters, Collins dismissed reports suggesting the senators' plan includes a gas-tax increase. Instead, she said the payment strategy involves "the implementation of an infrastructure financing authority that's very similar to the state revolving funds that we used for sewer and water projects," repurposing unused COVID-19 funding — Collins pointed to California's "enormous surplus" as an example — strictly for "water, sewer, and broadband," and, finally, "a provision for electric vehicles to pay for their share of using our roads and bridges." Collins said the justification for the electric vehicle idea is that their drivers "are literally free riders because they're not paying any gas tax."
The White House, though, has repeatedly said it will oppose a mileage tax for electric vehicles because it would violate President Biden's pledge not to raise taxes on any individuals making less than $400,000 per year, The New York Times reported last week.