HARTFORD — Today the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus expressed its opposition to plans proposed by Governor Malloy, as well as other lawmakers, for the installation of electronic tolls on Connecticut highways. On Wednesday, Governor Malloy held a press conference discussing the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and detailing his support for electronic tolls, a seven cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, a new three dollar fee on tire purchases and accelerating the transfer of new car sales tax revenue to the STF by two years.
As recently as last week, lawmakers in Hartford discussed plans to install “congestion pricing tolls” on all major highways, including I 95, I-91, I-84, I-395, I-691, as well as Route 2, Route 6, Route 7, Route 8 and Route 15. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-30) recently “promised” a vote on tolls during the upcoming session opening on Wednesday, February 7th. Once in place, the door would be opened for potential tolls on every major bridge and highway across the state.
Congestion pricing tolls are those in which the surcharge is not constant, but instead rises and falls based upon the amount of traffic at the time. Some states have seen congestion toll pricing as high as $50.00 per toll. Here in Connecticut, lawmakers have been discussing having as many as 32 tolls just on the span of I-95 alone, not to mention those planned for Connecticut’s other highways.
The Conservative Caucus opposes the imposition of tolls on the Connecticut taxpayer as a new revenue source for the following reasons:
- Connecticut has one of the highest gasoline tax rates in the country and receives hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly aid from the federal government that would be forfeited with the imposition of general highway tolls.
- Toll infrastructure would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to install, along with the cost of establishing an additional state bureaucracy and expanding the state employee workforce.
- The toll infrastructure would take approximately two to three years to install so there is no immediate influx of revenue to offset expenditures.
Approximately 70% of all toll revenues would be paid by Connecticut residents and much of the revenue gain would be spent in collection and enforcement efforts netting little “real” revenue to the STF.
- The imposition of electronic tolls, including congestion pricing, offers little direct benefit to Connecticut residents and will only further damage our fragile economy.
- Serious privacy concerns arise when dealing with the electronic monitoring of travel.
Rep. Doug Dubitsky, caucus member said, “This is just another way for the state to suck more and more money out of your wallet. Gas tax money is supposed to pay for our transportation infrastructure needs, but the governor and the Democrats keep diverting that money to fund their irresponsible spending addiction. No matter how much new money they take from the people of this state, it will never be enough if they won’t put transportation money toward transportation.”
Rep. Anne Dauphinais, caucus Vice-Chair, said, “The projected payback is so far down the road, I don’t know why we are even discussing this. I am not comfortable at all with expanding government in exchange for the hope that more than a decade from now we might see a return.”
The Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus is a group of Connecticut legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. Its members foster open debate about the role of government in society, adherence to the Constitution, and the rule of law. They propose and advocate for legislation that promotes the freedoms, individual rights, and prosperity of all Americans.
The members of the Conservative caucus are: Rep. Rob Sampson, Chair (R-80); Rep. Anne Dauphinais Vice-Chair (R-44); Rep. Mike France, Secretary (R-42); Rep. Doug Dubitsky, Treasurer (R-47); Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86); Senator Joe Markley (R-16), and Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8), Rep. Craig Fishbein (R-90), Rep. John Fusco (R-81), and Rep. John Piscopo (R-76).