False transportation claims

Letter to Hartford Courant editor by MTAC President Joe Sculley.

In her pro-tolls column [Aug. 8, Op-Ed, “You think tolls are bad? Here are your alternatives.”], Attorney Gail Berritt makes several false claims.

Ms. Berritt claims that a tractor trailer causes as much wear and tear to roads as 9,600 cars, but the truth is, there is a statutory system known as the Federal Bridge Formula, which helps protect our roads and bridges. This system codified in federal law requires that a truck’s gross weight be spread over a certain length, involving a specific number of axles, which must be spaced appropriate lengths apart. This ensures that a truck does less damage to a road or a bridge.

She further incorrectly portrays Connecticut’s gasoline tax, stating that it is 25 cents per gallon. According to the American Petroleum Institute (API), CT’s gasoline tax is currently 42.1 cents per gallon. By representing the gas tax as 25 cents per gallon, she is following the playbook of other toll advocates, and leaving out the 17.1 cents per gallon attributable to the Petroleum Gross Receipts Tax (PGRT), thus misrepresenting the true cost of the tax.

Lastly, Ms. Berritt states that “truckers and out-of-staters could get a free ride since they can easily make it through the state without having to stop for gas.” However, out-of-state trucks do often pay taxes and fees to Connecticut, based on miles driven and fuel used within the state, through Connecticut’s participation in the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) and the International Registration Plan (IRP). Connecticut receives $25 to $30 million annually from out-of-state trucks through these two interstate agreements.

See the complete letter from Joe Sculley in the Hartford Courant online.