A proposed toll gantry on a brief stretch of I-684 that runs through Greenwich has drawn criticism from Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont introduced a plan for 12 statewide tolls, including one in a stretch of I-684 near the Greenwich-North Castle town line that will force truck drivers to pay a toll as high as $20 despite being in the state for only about one mile.
The Greenwich toll gantry would be located in between the exit for the Westchester County Airport (Exit 2 in Purchase) on the southbound side and the North Castle border (Exit 3 in Armonk) northbound. The plan would call for a toll of nearly $20 for trucks traveling north on I-684.
In response, Latimer submitted testimony to the Connecticut State Legislature on the proposal in advance of a hearing that was scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31, in Hartford.
“Westchester County has always welcomed a partnership with our neighbors in Connecticut. We have worked cohesively on the issues that connect us – Westchester County Airport, the Long Island Sound and other border matters," he said. "We understand that Connecticut has a significant budget gap to close, and lingering infrastructure needs. But, while we are sympathetic to the need for revenue – those needs are not unique to the State of Connecticut.”
The roadway where the proposed toll is planned is the only way to pass the area in either direction, forcing New Yorkers to pay the toll.
“The proposed toll site on the one-mile stretch of I-684 in Greenwich is used primarily by New York traffic, both trucks, and passenger cars, and a toll here to benefit the State of Connecticut would be an unfair taxation of those who do not have a voice."
Latimer compared the proposed toll to placing a toll on the Port Chester side of the I-95 bridge that crosses over the Byram River.
“Connecticut stands to gain an estimated $13 million dollars to rehabilitate that causeway – a tremendous enhancement to the state’s transportation needs – and an additional $5 million dollars per year in revenue for the Greenwich toll. But the tax would largely be on the backs of New York State truck drivers.
“We don’t believe in retaliatory border tolls. We are all neighbors, and this will create an unhealthy relationship between the two states. The fear is that even with a toll on trucks only, avoidance traffic would follow on New York’s local roads, primarily Route 120 and Route 22.”
Latimer noted that there are also traffic concerns in Westchester for roads off the interstate as truck drivers will attempt to avoid a potential toll.
“Drivers could exit the interstate at Westchester County Airport and drive up Route 120 to Route 22, to continue on their journey north. The congestion would clog one lane in each direction for those seeking to skip the toll, and some impact would result on Connecticut side roads as well. This will ultimately become a real quality-of-life issue for all those who live and work close by.”
Latimer went on to say that “ultimately - this toll enables the enhancement of Connecticut’s infrastructure, by imposing a toll on New York’s commuters without justification.
"As Westchester officials, we are tasked to protect Westchester’s residents, and will continue to do so in the future as this proposal moves forward. We urge you to reconsider the proposal for a toll on Interstate 684, and forego that toll option.”
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