The Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) tax has passed the Connecticut state legislature, and Governor Ned Lamont could not be happier. When detractors of the bill threatened to avoid Connecticut as a result, Ned Lamont doubled down. An internet storm has brewed, pitting the trucking industry against the Constitution State.
Twits on Twitter
The news of truck drivers paying a minimum of 2.5 cents per mile while traveling in Connecticut’s borders has prompted threats of a boycott of sorts; truckers wanting to go from New York to Rhode Island may be willing to go around the state to save money.
Governor Ned Lamont sees this as a bluff at worst and an absolute win at best, saying on Twitter that fewer trucks mean cleaner air and safer roads.
The trucking lobby is threatening to have drivers go around Connecticut because of the Highway User Fee. That’s fine. We’ll have less air pollution, safer and better quality roads, and less people with asthma. Looks like the Highway User Fee is already working. pic.twitter.com/yrVYROf0Qq— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) June 10, 2021
This response has resulted in a further outcry from industry leaders, with some dropping the professionalism in retaliation.
Imagine being ignorant enough to think this is a clever response.— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) June 11, 2021
You'll also have less gasoline, less groceries, less household goods, less medicine, less construction materials... and all will cost more for consumers, too.
If you bought it, a truck brought it. #TruckTax https://t.co/9KzzPyuJ0m
Lamont's ignorance could fill a road train of 53-foot trailers. His open hostility toward truckers is shocking. He has shown a complete lack of respect for those who keep his state running by hauling goods in & out of CT. When did politicians become so out of touch with reality? https://t.co/uz3UdSdcJL— OOIDA since 1973 (@OOIDA) June 10, 2021
President of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut Joe Sculley is not worried; he says that the bill is destined to fail under the weight of its own bureaucracy.
“Proponents think that all they have to do is compare miles reported under the IFTA against miles reported under this new mileage tax,” Sculley explained. “They don’t realize that 1. Out-of-state trucking companies report their IFTA miles to their base state, and that Connecticut does not have access to those records, and 2. IFTA includes single-unit trucks, which this tax does not. Connecticut cannot do an apples-to-oranges comparison for purposes of enforcing this new tax. Connecticut is never going to see the money predicted for this bill, and this tax scheme will fail.”
The governor of Connecticut is not backing down, and is all but certain to sign this bill into state law. Like most laws that make operating in the trucking industry harder, it will almost certainly be fought in the courtrooms over its effect on interstate commerce, which would make it go both against the F4A and the United States Constitution. If it only applies to trucking journeys that start and end in Connecticut, however, it may just have the legal basis to withstand any court case.
What are your thoughts on the VMT tax in Connecticut? Are you worried that other states may follow suit? Let us know in the comments below what you think of this tax that may come in 2023. Our opinion remains the same as before: road funding is a vital part of the trucking industry’s survival, but an increase in fuel taxes would have much lower administrative costs and be much more efficient and effective than tracking miles.
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