In the face of sagging revenues collected at gas pumps each year, the Connecticut Department of Transportation will commission a $300,000 study that will examine the feasibility of a mileage tax.
The tax would be based on miles driven on state roads but it’s unclear how the information would be collected. Some publications have suggested that meters may need to be installed to track distances traveled.
When asked about the topic Monday, Gov. Dannel Malloy said if the state doesn’t search for new ways of paying for infrastructure improvements, then Connecticut residents should get used to crumbling roads and bridges.
"Let’s not be a society that promotes sticking your head in the ground and ignoring what’s going on around you, on the other hand this is the beginning of a discussion and it’s nowhere near the end or a decision."
Republicans said a tax is a tax and it’s no surprise to them that Democrats like the governor are even exploring the idea. Sen. Len Fasano, the top Republican in the Connecticut Senate, said he thinks a better management of the state’s gas tax would be the only help the state needs in getting in better fiscal shape.
“That would put a tax on every road, no matter where it is,” Sen. Fasano said, “It doesn’t matter.”
Gas tax collections have decreased in recent years, leading to issues with the state budget. Since there are more cars on the road with better gas mileage, including but no limited to hybrids, there’s less gasoline being consumed.
Fasano said there is not a revenue problem. He said there is a spending problem and that Democrats who write the budget should do a better job broadly so then the state doesn’t have to consider new taxes.
“You’ve got to plan for the future and not just make decisions when you’re at the end of your rope and that’s what they’re doing.”
Malloy said not looking for a new revenue source, even exploring a new revenue source is foolish.
“Twenty years from now in all probability, our gas and oil tax revenue will be half of what it is today.”