Posted on March 21, 2019 by admin
Majority Democrats Advance Bills to House and Senate
HARTFORD – State Representative Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton, Norwalk, Westport), a member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee, voted against three toll bills yesterday at the Legislative Office Building. Despite strong Republican opposition, the bills passed along party-line votes.
The three bills that were approved by the committee are:
S.B. 423 – An Act Concerning Funding for Connecticut’s Transportation Future
H.B. 7202 – An Act Concerning the Sustainability of Connecticut’s Transportation Infrastructure
H.B. 7280 – An Act Concerning Support for Transportation Infrastructure and the Creation of the Connecticut Transportation Finance Authority
Following the committee votes, Rep. Lavielle made the following statement:
“Today we were asked to vote on something that does not exist. There is not a concrete proposal in any of these bills. They simply call for an up-or-down vote on the idea of tolls. They don’t specify where the gantries would be placed. They don’t say what the rates for drivers would be. They don’t mention the cost to install or operate tolls. They don’t tell us how much revenue they are expected to generate. Perhaps the most important question we should be asking is, ‘How much revenue do we actually need?’ We have a general idea of what they can bring in, but how is it possible to develop a plan and set rates without identifying a revenue target? These are important things to know, and to vote in favor of a bill with the potential to affect so many across Connecticut, without knowing the answers to these questions, would be irresponsible.
“Residents and businesses owners are acutely aware of the need to modernize our transportation infrastructure and the resulting economic benefits. They also realize that Connecticut is a state with high costs and a history of fiscal mismanagement. Whether you call them taxes or fees or something else, tolls are money that the people of this state will have to pay. If gas tax revenues begin to disappear, tolls may be a viable and necessary option, but right now, I cannot support a vague concept without having real specifics about the actual costs and benefits to my constituents. Therefore, I voted against these bills.”
The three bills related to authorizing tolls now head to their appropriate legislative chambers for consideration later this spring. They will likely have to pass in either the Appropriations Committee or the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee before being eligible for a vote in the House or Senate.