A new Connecticut Department of Transportation study says highway tolls could generate $950 million in net revenue by the year 2023.

The Connecticut Tolling Options Evaluation Study outlines a 539-mile statewide system with 82 toll gantries on all interstates and four other highways, including Route 15, Route 2, Route 8, and Route 9.

Connecticut toll roads
The DOT study outlines a 539-mile statewide toll system on all interstates and four other highways.

"Connecticut's highways and bridges are aging, in need of repair, and congested," the study says.

"Current transportation revenues are insufficient to maintain the existing infrastructure or make the types of improvements needed to reduce congestion.

"A new source of revenue is needed that reduces the burden on the Special Transportation
Fund.

"Tolling is one potential source of revenue that could raise sufficient funding and meet the goals of being sustainable and directly related to one’s use of the system."

Toll Rates

The study estimates startup costs of $372 million and annual operating costs around $138 million.

The system would generate gross income of over $1 billion by 2023, with 40% of revenues coming from out-of-state drivers.

Proposed toll rates
Toll rates vary from 3.5 cents per mile to 47.2 cents per mile.

Trucks would generate 29% of annual toll revenue or $300 million, with passenger cars accounting for the balance.

Toll rates would vary, averaging 3.5 cents per mile off-peak for in-state motorists with a Connecticut-issued E-ZPass transponder who travel frequently to 47.2 cents per mile in peak hours for out-of-state trucks with no transponder.

The DOT report is separate from the $10 million toll study Governor Dannel Malloy ordered in August.

That study can only take place with legislative approval, which is also required for implementing tolls.

Lamont: Trucks Only

Governor-elect Ned Lamont reacted to the DOT study this week by repeating one of his campaign themes.

"My position on electronic tolling is very clear," he said. "We are going to focus just on those big tractor-trailer trucks. And that will raise us $250 million.

"It's something l think I can get through this legislature on short order. And I want to get going on that."

Rhode Island is the only state with truck-only tolls, which were implemented in June, generating an unresolved lawsuit two months later from trucking industry groups.

Lamont's preference for truck-only tolls in Connecticut has support from some state legislators, including  Senate President Martin Looney (D-New Haven).

"If the Governor wants to begin with that as an incremental step, I would certainly support him on that," Looney told reporters.