State to spend $300,000 on mileage tax study

July 18, 2016


A plan to spend $300,000 to study how to charge motorists for miles driven on Connecticut’s highways is fueling accusations that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is speeding toward a new mileage tax.

The state’s application for federal funding for a multistate pilot program pledges taxpayer money, lays out how a mileage tax would work, demonstrates how tracking devices would transmit driving data to taxing authorities and offers possible per-mile fees.

“The grant application makes it clear that this is no little study,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. “While Democrat lawmakers and the governor’s office have tried to downplay their efforts to implement a proposed mileage tax, the state’s application shows that this is something they are clearly very serious about, and the administration is willing to spend taxpayer dollars to make it happen,” Fasano said.

James Redeker, the state Department of Transportation commissioner, agreed new revenue sources are necessary to maintain and improve aging infrastructure. He noted revenue from the state’s gas tax has been falling for years, the result of cars becoming more fuel efficient. “We have to look at options and the governor’s transportation panel said we should look at what is being looked at all over the country,” Redeker said. “When you look at the gas tax and state funding, and even the addition of the sales tax, the need to look at some kind of funding stream is critical.”

State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, and a ranking member on the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, said few issues have raised public anger more than taxing miles driven.
The mileage tax has touched a serious nerve among Democrats and Republicans, unlike any issue I have seen before,” Boucher said. “It has truly fired up taxpayers of all ages from both parties who are fed up with tax hikes and tax hike trial balloons.”

Boucher added “I have the midnight emails to prove it. (The) frustration level is at an all-time high, and I share that frustration.”

Fasano said the $300,000 earmarked for the pilot is the same amount cut from the state’s medical examiner’s office for processing unclaimed corpses.