Posted on March 22, 2019 by admin
Bills Approved by Transportation Committee on Party-Line Votes
HARTFORD – State Representative Rosa C. Rebimbas (R-Naugatuck) expressed her disappointment with the Transportation Committee’s decision to give three toll-related proposals joint favorable reports, meaning the bills will now be sent to the House and Senate.
“Last year, two things happened: majority Democrats did not call any toll proposals for a vote in either chamber because they lacked sufficient support, and the people of this state voted for a lockbox on the Special Transportation Fund to prevent future legislatures from raiding this money for other purposes,” Rep. Rebimbas said. “These were clear indications Connecticut does not want to give more money to a state government with a history of fiscal mismanagement. The proposals approved yesterday are vague and do not address many questions raised by residents, businesses and Republican legislators. How much would the toll gantries cost to install and operate? Where would these tolls be place and how many can we expect? What would the rates be and how much revenue would they generate? How much revenue does the State of Connecticut actually need for transportation projects? I cannot support any legislation without the basic questions being answered. The House and Senate would be doing an injustice to the people of Connecticut by passing these bills.”
The three bills approved by the Democrats on 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
“We were able to fund scheduled transportation upgrades in 2018 by transferring the new car tax revenue from the General Fund to the Special Transportation Fund,” Rep. Rebimbas added. “It proved tolls were not required to modernize our transportation system. Unfortunately, the governor’s budget would reverse this bipartisan solution and would reroute the new car tax dollars to the General Fund, which he hopes will be offset by toll revenue. There is no doubt our roads and bridges are in need of repair, and I agree these improvements would benefit our economy. Where I disagree with my colleagues across the aisle is the means to accomplish this. I am convinced the consequences of tolls on businesses, consumers, commuters, local governments and the entire state will overshadow any boost in economic activity. We must remember those living paycheck-to-paycheck and how this policy decision, no matter how well-intended, could affect our neighbors. I cannot support these bills.”
Rep. Rebimbas also noted majority Democrats had to introduce three separate proposals on the same topic, which indicates they do not know what they want or how to do it. She also called attention to Gov. Lamont, specifically, who campaigned on tolls for trucks only, but quickly reversed this position after assuming office. This creates distrust between the public and the leader of their state, which begs the question, “Can we really trust our state leaders to use toll revenue for solely transportation purposes?”
S.B. 423, H.B. 7202 and H.B. 7280 will be placed on the House and Senate calendars where leadership will determine if these bills are to be called for a vote. There is a possibility these bills will be sent to the Appropriations Committee or Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee before reaching the chambers.