Dan Haar: Truck-only tolls not how Connecticut should roll

From New Haven Register.

The question is, can Connecticut follow Rhode Island’s lead in levying the road charges on big trucks only?

In the end, it’s a bad idea that won’t fly, isn’t fair and would not solve the state’s transportation revenue problems.

“Things that increase the cost of the trucking industry reverberate through the economy and impact the price of consumer goods,” said Joseph R. Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, an affiliate of the American Trucking Associations.

Besides, Sculley said this past week in response to the situation in Rhode Island and comments by Lamont, trucks pay between $26 million and $35 million a year in state taxes as it stands now — a fact lost on many residents.

Those taxes come from the diesel fuel tax, which raises $12 million to $15 million a year in Connecticut — even if truckers don’t fill up inside our borders. Under an industry agreement, every state receives the share of fuel taxes based on a truck’s miles in that state.

Then there’s the state’s share of truck registration fees, which, like the fuel tax, is allocated based on miles driven in each state. That accounts for another $12 million to $14 million a year, Sculley said.

Other taxes round out the levies for trucks. They include a $550 annual “heavy vehicle use tax” that goes to the federal government, some of which finds its way to states; and a 12 percent sales tax on new trucks, which, again, is federal but filters to states.

“We make a living on the interstates. We’re willing to pay our fair share,” said John Lynch, senior vice president of the national associations, a federation. “Our first preference would always be fuel taxes.”

One big issue: Tolls create distortions, Lynch and Sculley said, such as the fact that they hurt smaller trucking companies disproportionately, as those firms don’t have the power to raise their prices.

See the full article from New Haven Register online.