The state’s new mileage-based fee on tractor-trailer trucks using Connecticut highways will begin in January 2023, following Gov. Ned Lamont’s signing the bill into law.
Dubbed by the governor as a “highway user fee,” the move requires a payment ranging from 2.5 cents per mile for trucks weighing between 26,000 and 28,000 pounds, up to 17.5 cents per mile for trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds.
The fee is expected to bring in about $90 million per year for Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund, which has been significantly depleted over the past few years; according to some observers, it could be as low as $100 million by year’s end.
How the STF will use the new income stream has yet to be finalized.
The Department of Revenue Services has been charged with enforcing the fee and can impose financial penalties on trucking companies for delinquent payments.
Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) rejected the “user fee” nomenclature preferred by the administration.
“This is a tax on every good transported across our state by truck, including those goods that originate and are delivered in-state,” Kelly said. “The extra cost to trucking companies will ultimately be passed on to families with increased prices on food, home heating oil and more.
“The governor’s mileage tax only makes it that much harder to change workers’ reality and help working- and middle-class families afford to live here,” he added.
In an op-ed published late last month, Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, also argued against “the new truck tax,” writing that “It doesn’t require a Ph.D. in economics to understand that when the cost of truck transportation goes up, the price of what’s being hauled does, too.
“Everyday consumers and the working people of Connecticut will feel the sting of Lamont’s truck tax with each purchase of groceries, gasoline, prescription drugs, construction materials, home furnishings, household goods and so on,” Spear warned.