Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garret Eucalitto is encouraging Connecticut drivers to participate in a mileage use fee study being conducted by the Eastern Transportation Coalition (ETC) that will help determine the feasibility of replacing gasoline taxes with fees based on the number of miles residents drive.

Launched on a website operated by the ETC, Eucalitto, who is also vice-chair of the ETC’s executive board, appears in a promotional video saying the state must plan ahead to ensure future funding for Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure needs. 

In the video, Trish Hendren, executive director for ETC, a coalition of 17 states along the East Coast and Washington D.C., says that reliance on gasoline taxes is leading to reduced transportation funding as cars become more fuel efficient or drivers switch to electric cars.

“As more vehicles go farther on less fuel and others not using any fuel at all, it’s gonna be a lot harder to maintain our transportation system,” Hendren said, adding that the study intends to determine whether a mileage-based user fee (MBUF) would be both “fair and sustainable.”

Participants will have a device in their car that will register the number of miles they drive, and participants will also reportedly be interviewed regarding their experiences and thoughts on the potential program. Eligible participants will receive a $100 gift card after completion of the study, according to the website, and the coalition says participant’s information will be protected.

The study is being funded through the federal Department of Transportation as part of the USDOT’s Surface Transportation System Funding Alternatives study.

Study of a MBUF in Connecticut as a means of potentially altering Connecticut’s dependence on fuel taxes has long been a source of debate. In 2017, the General Assembly passed legislation preventing the CTDOT commissioner from using state funds for a mileage tax study without approval by the legislature.

At the time, the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF), into which Connecticut’s two fuel-based taxes are deposited, was on the verge of falling into deficit as borrowing costs for infrastructure projects threatened to grow faster than fuel tax revenue, which had largely flatlined with more fuel-efficient vehicles. 

As a state-based study of a potential mileage tax was shut down, newly elected Gov. Ned Lamont turned to highway tolls as a potential revenue source, but that push was ultimately abandoned after two years’ battle in the General Assembly. 

Since then, the STF’s financial outlook has improved, largely due to inclusion of a percentage of the state’s sales tax, which has now become the STF’s largest single source of revenue. But, with Connecticut and the federal government pushing for more and more electric vehicles on the road, and greater fuel economy, fuel tax revenue could potentially decline. 

In 2016, the state’s motor fuels tax took in $518.23 million and the state’s gross receipts tax for oil companies took in another $250 million. 

In 2021, the motor fuels tax brought in $475.16 million and the gross receipts tax $229.06, marking a $64 million decline, although some of that decline may be attributable to the pandemic and more people working from home. Figures for 2022 were skewed as the legislature implemented a gas tax holiday to help ease the pain of high inflation.

According to the latest consensus revenue estimates, however, the STF expects $532.8 million in motor fuels tax in fiscal year 2024, declining to $496.9 million in FY 2026. The oil companies’ tax is expected to bring in $390.2 million in 2024, declining to $333.1 million by 2026.

The study is being conducted in partnership with Transurban, an Australian-based company that develops and operates toll roads in the United States and Australia.

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Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels,...

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  1. how about managing a budget, stop doing deals with friends and spend wisely. People need to work, many jobs that pay a better wage are close by, so again tax the guy who is trying to get ahead. If this tracking device gets approved, it better be on all government, representatives, police vehicles, buses, etc not the person trying to make a decent living. We’re not the Netherlands where most places you walk, take a bicycle or a robust train system. Get realistic CT.

  2. I don’t support a mileage tax but I understand that we need money for maintenance of our infrastructure. I have supported tolls for our roads. Tolls would generate funds from out of state drivers who use our roads for free. I would also support improved spending responsibly by the state. Stop the waste and frivolous spending.

  3. I 100% absolutely REFUSE to ever take part in any kind of survey about how many miles I put on my car. It is none of the business of how much I drive or don’t drive. Connecticut is turning into a communist state and citizens better start waking up to this fact. Talk about over reach. This dude can pound sand. I again refuse.

  4. Tracking vehicles is an inappropriate overstep, likely in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This is the problem with taxes. Instead of reducing spending and getting out of the way when efficiency occurs/ consumer preference changes, government officials are making every effort to find new ways to move money from citizens pockets. The state is owed precisely ZERO PERCENT of what you earned. There is no social contract based on consent, let alone informed consent. At the end of the day, this is simply going to be another expensive lawsuit at taxpayer expense. Officials who are not personally accountable cannot reasonably expected to demonstrate personal responsibility. There is no incentive to do so…

  5. that would pretty much be the last straw for me. I was born and raised here. simply spying and controlling the population. I would NEVER accept this intrusion.

  6. since when does government have a right to force people to modify or add a device to property that belongs to a citizen?

    as it is, do they even have a real right to tax our property? i thought taxes were supposed to be based on income and sales?

    are they going to one day charge a special tax on car chargers and the amount of electricity we use because we won’t be able to produce enough electricity to cover our needs in the state?

    how about putting these controversial taxes up for vote by the people?

    it’s long overdue thar our government respects the will of the people instead of lining their pockets and making decisions that hurt most of us that struggle everyday.

  7. If the state is looking to have the mileage tax take place of the gas tax, I doubt they will ever get rid of a tax, then only apply the mileage tax to people who drive electric vehicles. We pay enough taxes for our roads and infrastructure. Gas taxes property (car) taxes… How about also taxing people who use the bicycles on the roads. Make them register the bicycles and tax them too. Deffinately government overreach!

  8. The State DOT should place these mileage counters on all of the Senators and Representatives personnel vehicles as a study and without compensation. I think that would give them the data they need.

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