Interstate trucks don’t get “free” ride on Connecticut highways

The Hartford Business Journal published this letter to the editor written by MTAC President Joe Sculley.

Dear Editor:

I am writing to clarify one point that was made in your Q&A with Congressman John Larson, which was published (“Larson: $10B tunnel plan to reshape Greater Hartford”) on Oct. 17. In response to one question, Congressman Larson stated that “These interstate vehicles get a free ride while they clog our highways and create wear and tear.” While this statement could be accurate when referring to passenger cars, from an interstate trucking perspective, that is not the case.

Interstate trucks pay fuel use taxes to the state in which they use the fuel, regardless of the state in which the fuel was purchased. Interstate motor carriers are required to do this under an interstate agreement recognized by Congress known as the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). Under this system, interstate motor carriers paid more than $178 million in state fuel taxes to Connecticut in one year alone, according to the most recent data from the Federal Highway Administration.

Similarly, interstate trucks pay apportioned registration fees to all of the states in which they operate, regardless of where the truck is based. Interstate motor carriers are required to do this under an interstate compact recognized by Congress known as the International Registration Plan (IRP).

In both systems, taxes and fees owed to Connecticut are calculated based on the number of miles driven in the state.

These two agreements ensure that any commercial truck traveling through Connecticut pays its fair share of taxes and fees, regardless of where the truck is based, or where its fuel is purchased.