Posted on July 23, 2018 by rjoslyn
HARTFORD – State Representative Brenda Kupchick (R-132) today urged the State Bond Commission to reject an item bonding $10 million for a study on the impact of a plan to implement electronic tolling on Connecticut highways. The agenda item would borrow money to pay for the study, as required by an Executive Order from Governor Dan Malloy who chairs the Bond Commission and decides which items are on the agenda.
The study would explore tolls on all major Connecticut highways, including Interstates 95, 91, and 84, along with the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways. This past spring, the legislature refused to consider a similar study costing only $5 million.
“It is completely inappropriate for the governor to attempt to circumvent the legislature like this,” said Rep. Kupchick. “The governor is requesting to borrow $10 million in taxpayer money – which, unbelievably, is twice the amount we had seen proposed in the legislature for a similar idea – to study the impact tolls would have on Connecticut residents. However, if you drive on I-95 or the Merritt Parkway every day you do not need a study to know that tolls would make life in Connecticut even more unaffordable than it is now. That is why I am joining my colleagues in urging the State Bond Commission to refuse the governor’s request and remove this item from the agenda.
“I kept an open mind on tolls when the issue first came before the legislature, but as more details of the proposals were presented it has become obvious this would simply be just another tax.”
Rep. Kupchick referred to data offered by the CT Department of Transportation that estimated approximately 70% of toll revenue would come from Connecticut residents. She also pointed to previous DOT tolling proposals that had called for up to 80 tolling gantries across the state, far exceeding the 14 toll locations in Connecticut before they were decommissioned in the 1980s. These proposals are expected to cost commuters between $3,000 and $6,000 per year with additional costs for businesses.
“While I believe our infrastructure needs to be improved and modernized, and that charging motorists for using our highways makes some degree of sense, I cannot support an additional scheme to collect even more money from Connecticut residents until the state conducts a serious re-evaluation of how it prioritizes the transportation funding we already collect and how to more accurately calculate the costs of transportation projects,” added Rep. Kupchick. “Further, a governor with less than 5 months left in office should not be permitted to make a $10 million appropriation that the legislature has already rejected.”
The State Bond Commission is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, July 25.