North Central Connecticut Legislators Host Informational Forum on Tolls

Posted on April 18, 2019 by admin


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ENFIELD – State Senator John Kissel (R-7) and State Representative Carol Hall (R-59) hosted House and Senate Republican ranking members of the Transportation Committee, State Representative Laura Devlin (R-134) and State Senator Henri Martin (R-31), to discuss legislation proposed by Governor Lamont and legislative Democrats, and to present an alternative transportation funding plan that does not rely on tolls or tax increases.

The event held at JFK Middle School on Tuesday, April 16th, was co-hosted by State Representatives from across the region; Bill Simanski (R-62), Tami Zawistowski (R-61), Kurt Vail (R-52) and Tom Delnicki (R-14).

“The proposals put forward by the Governor and Democrats in the legislature would hit working families hardest. This is nothing more than a tax increase. Working families cannot afford this added burden on their daily commutes and local businesses cannot bear the added expense,” said Rep. Hall. “Additionally, local traffic on routes 5 and 190 would certainly increase from drivers trying to avoid the added expense. I want everyone to know that tolls are far from a done deal and there is still time to stop it.”

Rep. Simanski shared, “Educating the public on tolls and transportation funding is very important. The more people learn about the proposed tolls, the less they are in favor. Our constituents are asking the state to live within its means and utilize existing resources.”

The majority of residents in attendance expressed their opposition to tolls. Current proposals include 50 toll gantries placed on I-95, I-84, I-91 and every six miles on sections of the Merritt Parkway. Toll rates could vary by time of day, level of traffic congestion and vehicle size, and would raise an estimated $1 billion per year with over 60% of the revenue coming from Connecticut drivers.

“One of the most concerning aspects of the tolls debate is that the proposed legislation before us sets up a slippery slope where plans can be ‘deemed approved’, expand to all ‘limited access highways’ or undergo fee increases without legislative input,” commented Rep. Zawistowski. “Outside of the Capitol, this has not been a partisan issue – towns and cities across the state are expressing their opposition to tolls beyond party politics.”

Rep. Devlin and Sen. Martin explained at the forum that the Republican Prioritize Progress Plan is our alternative to tolls and works within current state resources to provide $65 billion for transportation infrastructure projects over the next 30 years. Last year, the bipartisan budget placed a cap on state bonding and the plan operates within Connecticut’s new bond cap, borrowing no more than allowed under the cap. The tolling proposals from the Governor and legislative Democrats also include bonding to construct the infrastructure needed to collect tolls, with bonding secured by future toll revenues. To view the full Republican Prioritize Progress plan, please visit www.cthousegop.com/tolls.