A key legislative committee narrowly approved a bill March 22 outlining a two-step process for implementing tolls along Interstates 84, 91, 95, and the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

The Transportation Committee passed HB 5391 on a 19-17 vote, with Senate Democratic leadership taking an unusual step to ensure the bill's approval.

With committee member Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) unavailable, Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford) was temporarily assigned to the committee. She voted for the bill.

HB 5391 calls for the state Department of Transportation to conduct an environmental study, consider where overhead gantries would be located on those highways, and how much revenue tolls would raise.

The department then submits a report to the legislature in the 2019 session. If the House and Senate fail to act within 30 days of receiving the report, tolls would be deemed approved.

The bill also includes a provision to bolster the state's troubled Special Transportation Fund, accelerating by two years a plan dedicating 0.5% of the sales tax on new cars to the STF.

Other Transportation Bills

HB 5391 was among a number of tolling-related bills approved by the committee this week:

  • SB 389 and HB 5393 both create a quasi-public agency responsible for implementing and maintaining highway tolls.
  • HB 5046 implements Governor Malloy's transportation-budget recommendations, including the implementation and administration of electronic tolling.

The committee also approved HB 5309. That bill expands the role of the Connecticut Port Authority, created in 2014 to markets and coordinate development of the state's ports.

The committee failed to act on SB 292, which amends current public-private partnership laws to enhance the DOT's ability to use these agreements for design, development, finance, construction, operation, or maintenance.

For more information, contact CBIA's John Blair (860.280.4059).