The Connecticut General Assembly approved a new highway usage tax on heavy-duty commercial vehicles to help the state rebuild its crumbling roads and other transportation infrastructure.
The legislation was originally part of Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont's budget package, but it was later dropped and put up for this separate vote. The Democratic-majority Senate and the House approved the tax, and it now awaits Lamont’s sign-off.
If the measure is approved as expected, beginning in January 2022 the state will collect fees from trucks weighing 26,000 pounds or more and traveling within the state. The tax will be based on the truck weight and the miles traveled. Fees would range from 2.5 cents per mile, to 17.5 cents per mile for trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds.
The tax is expected to generate $90 million per year to support infrastructure improvements, the CT Mirror reported.
Lamont proposed the mileage tax earlier this year, saying that trucks cause an overwhelming amount of damage to roads and should pay for it. And it’s not the first time the state has targeted trucks for revenue. In 2020, Connecticut proposed truck-only tolls.
Trucking advocates have opposed the tax, as did Connecticut’s Republican senate members, saying the tax will be passed on to consumers, the Hartford Courant reported.
“Let’s not call this a ‘trucker user tax.’ Let’s call it what it is: a tax on every single person on Connecticut,” said Rep. Whit Betts, according to the Courant.
Trucks operated by dairy farms would not be taxed under this measure.
Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, told the Courant: “The House of Representatives passed the truck mileage tax tonight, but not before voting to exempt the heaviest trucks on the road – dairy trucks – from paying the tax. This just goes to show that the truck mileage tax is not actually about damage to the roads, it’s just about money. Lighter weight trucks will be subsidizing heavier trucks that will be exempt from the tax.”