State Representatives Tami Zawistowski (R-61) and Tom Delnicki (R-14) hosted House and Senate Republican ranking members of the Transportation Committee, State Rep. Laura Devlin and Senator Henri Martin, to discuss legislation proposed by Governor Lamont and legislative Democrats and to present an alternative transportation funding plan that does not rely on tolls or tax increases.
“This is a serious cost of living and affordability issue for our residents,” said Rep. Zawistowski. “There are a lot of misconceptions out there, this isn’t border tolls –which are prohibited under federal rules- and it’s not just a few toll gantries. It’s a billion dollar money grab – and two-thirds of it will be paid by Connecticut residents.”
The event held at the LP Wilson Community Center on Thursday, April 25th, also featured local businessman Mike Paine who owns of Paine’s Inc. Recycling & Rubbish Removal and serves as Chairman of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut.
“It’s wrong to say that trucks aren’t paying to travel on our roads. Right now our company pays $150,000 in diesel fuel taxes, $40,000 in registration fees and federal excise taxes that returned to the states for transportation,” shared Mike Paine, “If tolls are implemented I conservatively estimate that it could cost an additional $400,000 depending on the number of tolls and price per mile, if congestion pricing is implemented that number would certainly go up. This could have a big impact on our customers and services.”
The majority of residents in attendance expressed their opposition to tolls. Current proposals include 50 toll gantries placed on I-95, I-84, I-91 and every six miles on sections of the Merritt Parkway. Toll rates could vary by time of day, level of traffic congestion and vehicle size. These tolls would raise an estimated $1 billion per year with over 60% of the revenue coming from Connecticut drivers.
“Knowledge is power. The more we get the information about tolls out there, the less people like them,” said Rep. Delnicki. “Get the real information and remember, there’s many people out there that stand to make a huge profit on installing and operating tolls in Connecticut, and they’ll tell you just about anything to get them passed. Make your voice heard. With your help we will stop tolls. Thank you to everyone who joined us in Windsor for our informational toll forum.”
Rep. Devlin and Sen. Martin explained at the forum that the Republican Prioritize Progress Plan is our alternative to tolls and works within current state resources to provide $65 billion for transportation infrastructure projects over the next 30 years. Last year, the bipartisan budget lawmakers placed a cap on state bonding and the plan operates within Connecticut’s new bond cap, borrowing no more than allowed under the cap. The tolling proposals from the Governor and legislative Democrats also include bonding to construct the infrastructure needed to collect tolls, with bonding secured by future toll revenues. To view the full Republican Prioritize Progress plan, please visit www.cthousegop.com/tolls.