A grassroots coalition opposed to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to implement tolls on state highways submitted a petition with 100,000 signatures to the Capitol building on Thursday, May 9.
In March, the Transportation Committee passed Lamont’s proposal and two separate committee plans by a vote of 23-13, which includes installing tolls on Interstates 91, 95, 84 and along parts of the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.
The tolls are expected to generate an estimated $800 million in revenue annually. In total, no more than 50 potential toll-collecting gantries are expected to be erected every few miles, down from the originally proposed 82 gantry model.
On Thursday, “No Tolls CT” delivered a petition to Lamont, as a vote on the tolls proposal looms in the coming weeks. “No Tolls CT” has a “Save the State” rally planned for noon on Saturday, May 18.
People 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.
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.
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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