Tolls Bill Sent to House; Details Being Negotiated
The legislature’s Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee approved a bill May 15 that could lead to tolls on major state highways.
The measure now goes to the state House.
However, numerous details—including where tolls will be placed and how much motorists will be charged—remain unknown.
Earlier this session, the Transportation Committee approved three separate tolling bills, but the governor’s bill is the vehicle Democratic lawmakers are using to move the issue forward.
Transportation Committee chair Rep. Roland Lemar (D-New Haven) said there would be approximately 50 gantries, discounts for state residents, and a peak charge of 4.4 cents per mile.
Lemar said this week he expects a final version of the bill to be released by next week, saying “we’re not releasing an unfinished bill.”
Some frustrated lawmakers noted that, along with few details, the plan changes constantly.
For example, a proposal this week suggested bus fares would be lowered to $1 from $1.75.
Revenue estimates also continue to fluctuate.
Early estimates predicted anywhere from $900 million to $1.2 billion. More recently, revenue forecasts were lowered to $700 million to $800 million.
Lemar said House and Senate leaders are in discussions with Lamont, and that the administration is also in talks with the Federal Highway Administration, which must approve the tolls plan.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowcz (D-Berlin) said he believes tolls will get a vote in the chamber this legislative session.
Lamont’s plan calls for tolls on Interstate 95, I-91, I-84, and Route 15.
In addition to giving discounts to Connecticut commuters and reducing bus fares, the governor has also floated cutting the gas tax by five cents per gallon over five years.
Republicans this week released a five-point plan that allocates an additional $375 million in bonding to transportation needs.
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