In an effort to cut down on the state’s debt, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed a highway tolling system that could generate nearly a billion dollars annually.
During his speech announcing his proposed state budget, Lamont laid out plans for 53 potential toll-collecting gantries on I-84, I-91, I-95, the Merritt and Wilbur parkways that could bring in an estimated $800 million each year.
The plan is down from a proposed 82 gantry model proposed by the Connecticut State Department of Transportation following a study last year.
“Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti has been tasked with streamlining the administrative and construction costs per mile, and we will explore public-private partnerships to maximize the value from these new revenue streams,” Lamont said this week. “In these partnerships, I will ensure that the public side doesn’t carry the downside risk while the private investors enjoy the upside.”
Lamont also issued a second proposal, to only toll tractor-trailers, which he said could lead to a $200 million windfall for the state. Construction could begin as soon as 2022.
“I’ve supported truck-only tolling which could generate $200 million if applied to all major Connecticut highways,” he said. “While we are awaiting a ruling from the courts regarding truck-only tolling, our attorneys tell me that even if permitted, the tolling could only be done on specific bridges to pay for their rebuild. Assuming our attorneys are correct, the truck-only tolling could provide a down payment on repairing our bridges, but not enough to rebuild our transportation system without additional revenues.”
The tolls would include a minimum of a 30 percent discount for Connecticut residents, the governor noted. It’s estimated that out-of-state drivers could provide over 40 percent of tolling revenue for Connecticut.
“I know there are proposals in the legislature that include tolling for cars and trucks. I would only consider this option if we maximized the discount for Connecticut EZ-Pass users and, or offered a ‘frequent driver’ discount for those who are required to frequently travel our major roadways. We foot the bill when we travel through neighboring states, it’s time out-of-state drivers do the same for Connecticut.”
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