GOP lawmakers oppose ‘mileage tax’

Trumbull representatives David Rutigliano and Laura Devlin have both expressed opposition to the idea of a per-mile tax on state drivers.
Trumbull representatives David Rutigliano and Laura Devlin have both expressed opposition to the idea of a per-mile tax on state drivers.

State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) and Laura Devlin (R-134) recently came out strongly against a proposal which taxes how far Connecticut residents drive, a so-called mileage tax.

The Trumbull lawmakers learned last week that Connecticut is participating in a multi-state application for a federal grant to study the feasibility of a mileage tax.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has joined with several other states to study the concept of charging drivers according to the number of miles they drive. Connecticut has also committed to spend $300,000 in taxpayer funds in the study should the grant be awarded.

The idea of a "Mileage Tax," which would charge citizens for every mile traveled, surfaced a year ago when the governor was looking for ways to fund the massive $100-billion, 30-year Transportation infrastructure plan. The DOT now has a renewed interest in this tax and wants to study the feasibility of imposing it on motorists.

A ‘mileage tax’ would be assessed on drivers, based on the number of miles driven per year, and would be determined by a Global Positioning System (GPS) installed in cars. The proposed tax would apply only to Connecticut residents, not to out-of-state drivers who use state roads.

Devlin, who is a member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee said she opposed the mileage tax last year when the concept was first proposed, and still does.

“The number one thing I hear from my constituents is, ‘Enough already, we are overtaxed as it is.’ And without a secure ‘lockbox’ there is no guarantee that new revenue raised would actually be directed to improving our infrastructure."

Rutigliano agreed.

“The majority party in the legislature and Governor Malloy continue to pass and sign tax hike after tax hike and still we have end up with state budget deficits,” he said. “This proposal will crush already overburdened and overtaxed middle class taxpayers.”

The Trumbull lawmakers also said they see a mileage tax as an invasion of privacy. The mileage tax would be calculated by a GPS tracking device installed in one’s vehicle which would collect data on the miles driven by state commuters.

“This is an overreach of state government and an invasion of the personal privacy of law-abiding citizens,” he said.

Devlin said the program would also create an administrative burden on the state.

“A mileage tax implementation would require expanding state government with the hiring and oversight of more state employees,” she said. “We proposed a transportation plan, ‘Prioritize Progress’ which is a viable transportation solution, which provides for an annual transportation funding mechanism guaranteeing at least $1 billion annually over the next 30 years with no tax increases or tolls. Our proposal provides for flexibility in setting transportation priorities and gives Connecticut a sustainable and predictable funding plan to support future generations.”