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Governor says it’s ‘fine’ if truckers go around Connecticut to avoid controversial $90 million truck miles tax

After Connecticut lawmakers approved a plan to tax truckers for each mile traveled in the state, Governor Ned Lamont took to social media to let truck drivers know that he believes that his state will be better off without them.

Early Wednesday, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a plan that would generate an estimated $90 million in revenue for infrastructure funding per year by implementing a costly Highway Use Tax on truckers only. 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.

In response to outcry from Republican lawmakers and from members of the trucking industry, Lamont on Wednesday posted a message on his official Twitter account letting truckers know that he’s “fine” if drivers decide to avoid delivering goods to his state.

“The trucking lobby is threatening to have drivers go around Connecticut because of the Highway User Fee. That’s fine. We’ll have less air pollution, safer and better quality roads, and less people with asthma. Looks like the Highway User Fee is already working,” the Tweet reads.

In a video accompanying the Tweet, Lamont says that Connecticut “will still have the resources we need” even if truckers choose to avoid his state in response to the trucker tax.

Those who oppose the highway use tax have pointed out that costs will be passed down to consumers and that the measure threatens the state’s economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.

Noting that the legislation would exempt dairy trucks from the tax, Joe Sculley, the President of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, condemned the tax as a cash grab.

From a statement released by Sculley:

The House of Representatives passed the truck mileage tax tonight, but not before voting to exempt the heaviest trucks on the road – dairy trucks – from paying the tax.

Those trucks operate at 100,000 pounds, while the limit for all other trucks is 80,000 pounds. This just goes to show that the truck mileage tax is not actually about damage to the roads, it’s just about money. Lighter-weight trucks will be subsidizing heavier trucks that will be exempt from the tax.

“Connecticut is never going to see the money predicted for this bill, and this tax scheme will fail,” Sculley said.  

Leading up to his election to the Governor’s seat in 2018, Lamont has repeatedly pushed for truck-only tolls as a source of infrastructure funding without success.

Lamont’s apparent attack on trucking comes following a year when the American people leaned on truckers to keep grocery store shelves filled, gas stations serviced with fuel, and medical supplied and vaccines delivered to hospitals and clinics.

The legislation is awaiting a signature from Lamont to be passed into law.