Rep. Kennedy Opposes CT Toll Plans

Posted on March 6, 2019 by jdooley

HARTFORD – State Rep. Kathy Kennedy (Milford & Orange) today submitted testimony opposing legislation that would bring a state-wide tolling system to Connecticut highways.

The Transportation committee held a public hearing on two bills: the first bill (H.B. 7280) is from legislative Democrats, and the second (H.B. 7202) is from Gov. Ned Lamont.

Late last year, a well-publicized study on highway tolling indicated Connecticut residents could see as many as 82 toll gantries placed on highways throughout the state. Gov. Lamont, through his two-year budget proposal, has proposed 53 toll gantries. According to one of the proposals, the final number of gantries and the cost of each electronic toll would be determined by an unelected state transportation authority with no input from the state legislature.

In written testimony, Rep. Kennedy told the committee that not a day goes by that I don’t hear from a constituent expressing their opposition to tolls in Connecticut.

Rep. Kennedy mentioned how she supports a 30-year prioritized transportation plan called Prioritize Progress which does not increase taxes or include tolls and stays under the new state bonding cap and provides flexibility in setting transportation priorities.

“The proposed implementation of tolls is yet another way we are taxing our Connecticut residents who are already struggling to stretch their weekly paychecks. It has been stated tolls are necessary to repair our heavily traveled roadways which are in need of upgrades and maintenance.  However, they are simply not a magical solution,” said Rep. Kennedy. “There is the potential that businesses will suffer with the implementation of tolls as residents will likely look for alternate routes to travel to avoid paying a toll thereby taking them away from stores, restaurants and other places of business they may have once frequented.  There is the impact on a family that travels throughout the state on weekends for their child’s sporting events and other school wide events.  There is the daily cost to commuters who travel our highways to get to work.”

Kennedy added, “Simply put, tolls are just one fee of the massive overall proposed tax increases that Connecticut residents potentially face. This will certainly stretch the working family budget that has been consistently hit with tax increases.”

Last month, Rep. Kennedy sent out a toll survey on the initial toll proposal which would have included 82 toll gantries on state highways; and of the almost 300 respondents 82% said no they do not want tolls on Connecticut roads.

“Essentially, Milford and Orange residents have spoken loud and clear, they do not want tolls.”

The Transportation Committee will consider the toll proposals over the coming weeks. It’s possible the committee does not take action, but a vote is expected by mid-April.