We were deeply disappointed to read Senator John Barrasso's recent piece "Hiking the gas tax hurts Wyoming drivers." Senator Barrasso knows that when it comes to funding the highway system Americans use every day, the trucking industry more than carries its weight. Wyomingites should know every truck they see is paying far more in taxes and fees than any car. While the average car driver pays $95 a year in federal fuel taxes, the typical 5-axle tractor-semitrailer pays more than $1,500 in fuel taxes, and more in other excise taxes. Out of the 270 million vehicles on the road, trucks number fewer than 4 percent – yet they pay nearly half the entire federal Highway Trust Fund tab.
Senator Barrasso’s Truck-Tracking Tax aims to further shift that burden almost entirely onto the backs of truckers. With a $0.10 per-mile tax, a typical trucker would see their annual federal use taxes skyrocket by over $10,000 — an increase of more than 500 percent. At $0.25 per mile, this tax would cost a typical trucker more than $25,000 – or a 1,200 percent increase.
For the thousands of small, family-owned businesses at the heart of Wyoming’s trucking industry, this tax would deliver a devastating blow. It would create serious financial pain and economic uncertainty to the one in twelve Wyomingites who work in trucking.
It’s disconcerting the senator would advocate for such a draconian scheme without even the courtesy of giving Wyoming truckers a heads-up. Unfortunately, that’s a story all too common in Washington. Once elected, politicians grow more concerned with rising up the leadership ladder than listening to critical constituencies back home.
Our highway system is in such dire condition today because Congress has failed to responsibly raise any new Highway Trust Fund revenue since 1993. Instead, they’ve covertly stuck the costs to the motoring public, with the typical motorist losing $1,600 annually in wasted fuel, time and vehicle damage caused by poor roads and congestion. The Truck-Tracking Tax, years away from reality, is a scheme that once more passes the buck, instead of raising infrastructure funding in a viable, cost-effective and fiscally conservative manner.
GREG VENABLE, President, Wyoming Trucking Association, Worland
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!