Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), a member of the Senate Commerce Committee that will hold a confirmation hearing on outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood's successor, warned any nominee against talking about a vehicle miles-traveled fee.
"We're not very big fans of that, so whoever talks about that may not do real well in the Commerce Committee with me," Begich told POLITICO. Such a fee, floated as a potential replacement or supplement to the gas tax to fund the highway trust-fund, would disproportionately affect drivers in rural states such as Alaska.
"I'm going to be anxious to see how they look at rural impacts and how they look at their funding formulas. It can't just have a one size fits all," Begich said.
Meanwhile, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) also said the way rural states are treated would be a key issue for the next secretary.
Johnson, who did not have an ideal candidate “off the top of [his] head,” said the next secretary “should have a balanced view of rural versus urban,” he told POLITICO.