Statement of Senator Carlo Leone on CT DOT’s Decision to Withdraw From Regional Vehicle Study
State Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) today welcomed the news that Connecticut would withdraw its application to take part in a multi-state federal study to examine how vehicles travel along roads in the Northeast, a study which would have included the trial collection of mileage data and driving habits to be used for evaluating a so-called “vehicle mileage tax” in order to make up for declining federal transportation grants to states.
“Two years ago, the Connecticut DOT was asked to join a federal regional study on traffic congestion, mitigation and general infrastructure enhancements that also included a study of miles driven per-user, or what is better known as a ‘mileage tax.’ The reaction from Connecticut Democrats to that concept was quick and clear: a vehicle mileage tax would never be supported in Connecticut.
“Unfortunately, the issue was quickly politicized, and the public discussion that was needed for our growing transportation infrastructure crisis was negated by concerns about the DOT’s mere participation in this study. The study could have provided Connecticut with valuable information about how and when vehicles travel in our state, where the congestion is, what roads and bridges are used the most, when peak travel times are relative to our surrounding states, and—perhaps most importantly—how these transportation financial burdens impact all Connecticut residents.
“But all of those potential positives, and the data that we need, were outweighed by the public perception of a larger negative of possibly being taxed for every mile they drive. That aspect of the study was never going to happen, but the fear was there, and I understand that concern.
“As a result, I’m glad the DOT has withdrawn from this study, and by doing so they have removed the vehicle mileage tax debate that was drowning out the more serious public debate we must have. Now we need to move forward seeking data from other sources that we can use here in Connecticut to improve our transportation infrastructure, which is something that both residents and businesses want and desperately need.”