After failed attempts at tolling, legislators levy mileage fee on tractor-trailers

From CT Examiner.

After a number of failing efforts in previous sessions to pass a highway toll, the Connecticut General Assembly succeeded on Wednesday in levying a mileage fee on tractor-trailers.

Supporters of the bill say that the fee will force heavy trucks to pay their fair share for the damage they cause to the state’s roads. Meanwhile opponents warn that the tax will increase the prices of consumer goods and will fall unfairly on Connecticut-based trucking.

In the House, where the bill passed 88-59, every Republican and six Democrats voted against the bill. Two Democrats — State Sen. Norm Needleman, D-Essex, and State Sen. Dennis Bradley, D-Bridgeport — joined the twelve Republicans in voting against the bill in the Senate, where the legislation passed 22-14 in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“The modest fee that a truck company would have to pay us to drive the length of I-84, which is about $9, pales in comparison to the fact that, when that truck reaches the George Washington Bridge, they will pay $100 to cross one way on that bridge,” said State Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford.

Explaining his support for the bill, Scanlon said that large trucks do the most damage to highways, and don’t contribute to highway funding aside from paying the International Fuel Tax Agreement and International Registration Plan that distributes fuel taxes and registration fees to all the states a truck drives through.

It’s estimated that the new fee, which will be paid per-mile and adjusted by weight of the truck, will generate about $45 million in revenue in 2023, the first year it’s implemented, and $90 million each year after.

Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, told lawmakers in public testimony that the average five-axle tractor trailer in Connecticut pays $17,000 a year in state and federal highway fees, which he said is more than their fair share.

See the complete article online at the CT Examiner.