A trade group representing Connecticut’s truck drivers has come out against the proposal by Ned Lamont, the Democratic candidate for governor, to use a toll on out-of-state tractor trailer trucks to pay for improved rail service and encourage less congested roads.
During a press event at a train station on Tuesday, Lamont said that implementing a toll on out-of-state tractor trailer trucks would result in $100 million in new revenue for the state’s Special Transportation Fund. “We’re going to have very limited tolling on the big tractor trailer trucks, raising the revenue we have to keep facilities like this going – more frequent, regular rail service – and give those tractor trailers the incentive to not be on the roads at rush hour and off peak times,” he said.
Lamont’s comments brought an angry response from Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, who said that putting a toll on “just out-of-state tractor trailers is so clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution.” He also pointed to a lawsuit filed in July in Rhode Island that challenged the constitutionality of the state’s truck-only toll policy.
Sculley, in an interview with CTNewsJunkies, noted that out-of-state trucks bring $30 million annually into the state. “Out-of-state trucks do not travel through Connecticut for free,” he said. “They pay for the diesel fuel they use while traveling in our state, regardless of where it was purchased, and they pay a share of Connecticut vehicle registration fees based on their travels in our state, regardless of where the truck is based.”
Sculley added that the owners of the average Connecticut-based 18-wheel tractor trailer pay more than $17,000 in state and federal road taxes each year. “Let’s stop picking on the industry that brings food to stores, fuel to homes and gas stations, and medicine to hospitals. Instead, let’s focus on spending road and bridge tax money on roads and bridges,” he said.