Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) is inviting her constituents to sign a petition to fight the 16% gas tax hike scheduled for July 1. If the increase takes effect, motorists will pay about four cents more per gallon at the pump.

At the same time, Connecticut’s tax on diesel fuel is scheduled to increase by 3.5 cents per gallon. Ms. Lavielle says this will have a ripple effect that will increase consumer costs on everything from groceries and clothing to construction, as well as other goods and services.

Combined local, state and federal gas taxes in Connecticut already total 63.4 cents per gallon — more than 14 cents above the national average — “and that the increase is unfair and avoidable,” she said in a press release.

“To add insult to injury, the revenue from the gas tax will not be used to repair our aging roads and bridges or to improve mass transit, which is a critical issue in Fairfield County,” she added. “In 2014, more than $90 million will be siphoned out of the Special Transportation Fund into the General Fund, where it will be used not for transportation purposes, but instead to balance the budget, which has increased spending by about 9%. This gas tax increase is a direct hit to the middle class, and it’s unfair to everyone who drives, because they’re not getting improved infrastructure or services in return for their money.”

Recently, budget experts from the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis, in recalculating anticipated health care costs for the next two-year budget, projected Connecticut will need $93 million less in fiscal year 2014 and $130 million less the following year. Of that savings, $60 million could be applied to the gas tax, thereby eliminating the scheduled increase, she said.

Constituents may sign her petition online at replavielle.com.