Did you know that 94 percent of manufactured tonnage transported in Connecticut is moved by truck? That’s according to data from the U.S. government’s most recent Commodity Flow Survey. This figure almost single-handedly proves the phrase, “if you bought it, a truck brought it.”
With that in mind, policy makers need to consider the impacts of their proposals on the trucking industry. Businesses do not simply absorb the cost of taxes, and trucking companies are no different. If everything we buy is transported by truck, then common sense holds that increasing costs for truck transportation through the creation of new taxes, like tolls, will ultimately mean higher prices paid for consumer goods by Connecticut residents.
Consider other current events for comparison. Many business leaders are warning that tariffs are increasing their cost of doing business, and because of that consumers will pay more. The same thing is true of tolls and trucking. Tolls increase the cost of moving freight, and consumers will pay more because of it.
Did you also know that the trucking industry employs more than 59,000 people in Connecticut? Recent data shows that total trucking industry wages paid in Connecticut are more than $3.2 billion annually, with an average annual salary of $53,430. The next time someone tries to pitch tolls as a way to get money from trucks, don’t be fooled. That proposal is an attack on the middle class in Connecticut. Middle class employees will be negatively impacted, and so will anyone who buys something at a store in Connecticut.
The public should also know that the Connecticut trucking industry pays about $281 million annually in in federal and state road taxes. (Unfortunately, not much of the road tax money is spent on roads in Connecticut). The industry’s road tax payments make up 32 percent of the road taxes owed by Connecticut motorists, despite the fact that trucking is only 5 percent of the Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) in Connecticut.
There is an endless supply of numbers that help tell the story of the trucking industry in Connecticut and across the country. For those sick of numbers, think of it this way. Have you ever seen a plane or a train pull up and unload at a grocery store, a department store, or a gas station? I haven’t. But probably everyone has seen a truck unloading at a store in their town, whether they stopped to contemplate it or not.
If every truck driver in America took a week’s vacation at the same time, the country would stop. There would be nothing to buy at those stores. No bread, milk, diapers, gas, or ANY critical good. Luckily, that has not happened. The trucking industry continues to show up and get the job done, even while being the target of unwarranted political attacks. That is why we proudly say, Trucking Moves America Forward.
Joseph R. Sculley is President of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut.