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New Lamont Plan Calls For 'No More Than 50' Toll Locations

There haven't been tolls in Connecticut for more than 25 years.
There haven't been tolls in Connecticut for more than 25 years. Photo Credit: File Photo

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s plans for tolls on state highways is coming together, though they’ve been deferred to a special session over the summer.

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The governor released a 24-page preliminary draft of his electronic highway tolling plan, which calls for no more than 50 gantries on Interstates 91, 95, 84, and along Route 15, which includes the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

Motorists who use a Connecticut EZ-Pass and a frequent user discount could expect to pay roughly 25 to 30 cents per gantry, or 4.4 cents per mile during peak hours and 3.5 cents during off-peak hours. Out of state drivers may pay nearly double that price, while truckers will pay even more than that.

Lamont has also proposed creating a commission controlled by state lawmakers that would be tasked with overseeing rates, how toll revenues are distributed and what is considered peak and off-peak. Votes on either measure have been until after the end of the 2019 General Assembly on June 5.

“I’ve met with Republican leadership and I have invited them to the table in our special session,” Lamont said in a statement. “They agree that the current state of our infrastructure system should not be a partisan problem, and I welcome and encourage their participation in this special session.”

In total, if approved, commuters in Connecticut may spend hundreds of dollars making their way to work each day, with much of the generated revenue expected to help repair the state’s crumbling infrastructure. Approximately 40 percent of the revenue is expected to be paid by out-of-state motorists.

“The time to plan, gain regulatory approvals, design and construct a toll system has been estimated to take 4 years, with partial revenue services in years 5 and 6. Full revenue operations would be achieved in year 7,” a state DOT memo stated.

Rates are expected to be frozen for the first three years and will generate an estimated $800 million annually.

Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti said that the tolls are a necessary evil to help improve infrastructure statewide.

“Simply put, Connecticut’s aging transportation infrastructure and lack of sustainable, recurring revenue in the Special Transportation Fund has hampered our ability to just maintain a state of good repair, let alone make the investments necessary to move our state’s residents and the economy,” he said. “The lack of funding to maintain our infrastructure leads to major capital costs and the need to entirely revamp systems, which is not strategically smart of a financial best practice.

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