Connecticut governor proposes $90 million per year ‘mileage tax’ for tractor trailers

Connecticut lawmakers are looking to increase state revenue by imposing a new “highway use” tax for truck drivers.

On Wednesday, Connecticut governor Ned Lamont released a budget proposal that includes a new Highway Use Tax (HUT) for heavy vehicles designed to generate $90 million in annual revenue after fiscal year 2023.

The budget proposal details how the HUT would be implemented:

Under HUT, operators are charged a rate, determined by the weight of the truck, for the number of miles driven in the state. The State of New York has nearly identical system which has been in place for decades. The Connecticut HUT will be imposed specifically on classifications 8 through 13, which weigh 26,000 pounds and above. Rates will increase incrementally from 2.5 cents per mile at 26,000 pounds to 10 cents per mile at 78,001 pounds. Operators of trucks which are classified overweight (over 80,000 pounds) will pay an additional 7.5 cents for a total of 17.5 cents per mile. The budget anticipates a start date of January 1, 2023, with an estimated $45.0 million to be collected in FY 2023. Annualized revenue is approximately $90.0 million per year.

Lamont argues that the HUT is necessary because “constructing and maintaining Connecticut’s infrastructure requires significant alterations to support legal truck weights. Elevated highways and bridges need to be stronger to support the additional weights and pavements need to be formulated with sufficient strength to withstand the additional load. The Department of Transportation estimates that over the next 40 years these requirements add an additional $1.52 billion of cost to the state’s pavement program alone.”

In 2018, Lamont campaigned for office on a controversial plan to impose truck only tolls. After he was elected and in the face of harsh criticism from trucking groups and anti-tolling groups, Lamont backed off from the plan, admitting in an op-ed that “the truck-only option provides too little revenue, too slowly and too piecemeal to make a meaningful difference.”

After Lamont took office in 2019, he announced a new plan to toll both cars and trucks, then succumbed to pressure from House Democrats to drop cars from the proposal and revive the truck-only toll plan. The plan also ultimately fizzled.