Hartford – Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton), who serves as ranking member of the state’s Transportation Committee, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven)are raising concerns after learning from a Washington Post report that Connecticut, as a member of the I-95 Corridor Coalition, applied for a federal grant to launch a pilot program for a mileage tax, which would tax drivers for the miles they travel.
“If you thought the idea of tolls was unpopular, just wait until you try to tax Connecticut residents for every single mile they drive,” Sen. Boucher said. “That tax will hit drivers every day. It will hit you everywhere you go, even if you are driving to a hospital emergency room. The state needs to prioritize how it spends taxpayers’ money and direct that money to the right places, but the current leadership in Hartford has not shown the willingness to do that. I would also note that in the places where the mileage tax has been introduced, it has been highly unpopular and has received a stinging response from the public. Connecticut Republicans will be fighting this mileage tax idea until it stalls permanently, and we invite Connecticut motorists to join us.”
The mileage tax was proposed in Connecticut in July 2015 at a meeting of the Governor’s Transportation Finance Panel. Republicans immediately spoke out against the tax. Democrat lawmakers were initially open to the tax, but later after public criticism denounced it.
However, the idea reappeared in January 2016 in the Transportation Finance Panel’s final report which included proposals to pay for the governor’s $100 billion transportation plan. The report discussed Oregon’s voluntary mileage-based user fee pilot program and recommended that “State agencies should be directed to design a volunteer pilot program that looks to potentially one day replace the state fuel tax with a manageable VMT system” (Page 53 of the final report).
“More taxes and more burdens on Connecticut drivers is not the way to improve transportation in our state,” said Sen. Fasano. “Last year Democrat lawmakers promised this idea was not going anywhere. Now almost a year later and it’s back on the table. The governor’s proposed transportation plan is not realistic and the people of Connecticut cannot be expected to shoulder any more burdens. Republicans have an alternative transportation plan that requires no new taxes and no tolls. A mileage tax is not the solution to Connecticut’s problems.”