Connecticut lawmakers pass truck-only highway user tax

Tax

Connecticut lawmakers have ruled in favor of a bill to generate $90 million per year for road repairs by charging large commercial vehicles a roadway user fee

On Tuesday, a measure to implement a highway user fee for trucks was passed in the Connecticut House of Representatives by an 88 to 59 vote. The measure was approved in the Senate early Wednesday morning by a 22 to 14 vote.

The bill would create a new highway user fee for vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds based on the number of miles travelled within the state.

According to the text of the bill, motor carriers would be responsible for calculating the number of miles travelled by each eligible truck in operation. Miles travelled would be multiplied by a tax rate based on the gross weight of the vehicle to calculate how much carriers owe.

Fees would range from 2.5 cents per mile for vehicles weighing 26,000 to 28,000 pounds up to 17.5 cents per mile for trucks weighing over 80,000 pounds, the Connecticut Mirror reports.

The truck-only highway user fee would go into effect in January 2023.

The bill would provide an exemption from the fee for trucks transporting dairy products.

Lawmakers say that the bill is expected to generate $90 million per year to fund infrastructure improvements.

Lawmakers who oppose the bill say that the fee will be passed down to consumers and could harm the state’s economy.

The bill is now headed to Governor Ned Lamont to be signed into law.

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.