Posted on March 6, 2019 by Greg MacKinnon
HARTFORD –State Representative J.P. Sredzinski (R-Monroe) submitted testimony to the legislature’s Transportation Committee in opposition to the implementation of a state-wide tolling system.
“One of my top priorities as a State Representative is to make Connecticut a more affordable place to live, work and raise a family,” explained Rep. Sredzinski. “This tolling proposal goes against that priority, levying a new tax on anyone who drives to work, drives to see family, or uses our roads for any other reason.”
Rep. Sredzinski, referring to House Bill 7280, explained that the Commissioner of Transportation, through a Transportation Authority, can dictate the rates at which motorists are tolled. This would circumvent any input from the state’s legislature, thereby silencing any voice in opposition to rate increases, which are inevitable.
“However, the worst part of this tolling bill is that once the Commissioner’s study is complete, the language provides for automatic implementation of tolls without a vote by the Legislature. This is irresponsible and is a clear dereliction of our role as the Legislative body of the state. In essence, support for House Bill 7280 is the direct implementation of tolls in our state,” stated Rep. Sredzinski.
It’s also important to note that the majority party has eliminated funds from the Special Transportation Fund several times. This fund, historically, has been swept in order to pay for other shortfalls within the state’s budget. Years of neglect have only compounded the state’s overall infrastructure deficiencies.
“We have a better way to go about this,” concluded Rep. Sredzinski. “For several years the House and Senate Republicans have offered an alternative plan to tolling or raising transportation-related taxes. If we were to implement ‘Prioritize Progress,’ then we would be able to make major infrastructure improvements without needing additional tax revenue to do it. We prioritize spending and projects, instead of allocating funds to pay for pet projects.”
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.