HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The state of Connecticut is on the road to testing the possibility of a ‘Mileage Tax.’ The brakes were put on this plan one year ago when News 8 first reported about the idea, but now it’s back.
With GPS and smartphones, the idea of the state charging you for the number of miles you drive is technologically possible and several states in the Northeast, including Connecticut, want to give it a test drive.Related Content: New tax and highway tolls discussed at State Capitol
It was nearly one year ago when the concept of a ‘Mileage Tax’ was first heard at the State Capitol. A special panel, established by Gov. Malloy to find ways to pay for his $100-billion, 30-year transportation plan was told that increasing the gas tax would work for a while but because cars and trucks continue to get better and better mileage it wouldn’t work for long.
In July 2015, the panel heard testimony about modern electronic highway tolls and the idea of some sort of a fee for every mile you drive was discussed and praised by the chairman, former New Haven state lawmaker Cameron Stapes. “It could be very efficient and it could be a way to spread the cost across all drivers, not just the who chose a particular highway,” said Stapes.Related Content: Connecticut Senate President wants to know more about mileage tax
That started an avalanche of controversy on the internet. The special panel recommended studying the idea. Now the Department of Transportation has joined with several other northeast states for a study of the concept of charging you according to the number of miles you drive and Republicans are pouncing.
“They’re going to wait until after the election, have this hocus pocus study and then come with this vehicle mileage tax which is going to increase the cost for everybody in the state of Connecticut,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven.)
The Democratic co-chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, Rep. Tony Guererra (D-Rocky Hill) admits he favors bringing back the tolls, but says this idea must be considered even though the technology may be a bit down the road, “We have to throw these ideas out there. Whether we’re going to use this is probably, you know, far reaching right now.”Related Content: ‘Mileage Tax’ already being tested
The Governor’s office referred questions about the study to the DOT, which issued a statement saying they are studying driver behavior and have no intention of moving forward with a mileage based user-fee program. Of course they can’t, that would take an act of the legislature and the Governor.
The Republicans in the General Assembly do favor many of the Governor’s ideas for fixing the state transportation system, but they say a less ambitious plan that costs only $60-billion can be done with the existing tax structure.