Three bills paving the way for bringing highway tolls back to Connecticut were approved by the legislature's Transportation Committee this week.

The committee approved the measures March 20 on party lines, with all Democrats voting for the three bills.

None of the bills addressed toll locations, pricing, nor other details.

All three authorize the state Department of Transportation to develop a toll plan and present it to the Federal Highway Administration.

SB 423 requires the General Assembly to vote twice on tolls to enact enabling legislation this year and again on a final proposal.

HB 7202—Gov. Ned Lamont's proposal—and HB 7280 require public hearings on a final proposal, but no vote by the General Assembly.

All three bills would implement tolls on I-95, I-91, I-84, and the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.

Toll Rates

HB 7202 and HB 7280 create a new transportation authority to administer the toll system, including setting toll rates.

SB 423 gives the legislature the right to set toll prices and prohibits increases in the first 10 years of operation.

The votes followed a March 7 hearing where many people testified on the proposals.

A number of committee Democrats they were reserving their right to vote against the bills in the future if their questions and concerns are not addressed.

Tolls could raise about $800 million annually, with 40% of revenue coming from out-of-state drivers.
"At the end of the day, we're talking about these people's bottom line," said Rep. Travis Simms (D-Norwalk), who is concerned tolls will force some residents to make more sacrifices than they already make to get to work.

Tolls could raise about $800 million annually, with 40% of revenue coming from out-of-state drivers.

The bills face a long and complex journey as the details are ironed out during the rest of the legislative session.

Toll Forums

Meanwhile, state Senate Republicans scheduled forums throughout the state to gauge public opinion on highway tolls.

The forums will be held from 7 to 8:30 pm with local legislators on these dates in these locations:

  • March 29, Bristol Central High School, 480 Wolcott Street, Bristol
  • April 1, Danbury City Hall, 155 Deer Hill Avenue, Danbury
  • April 9, Old Lyme High School, 69 Lyme Street, Old Lyme
  • April 16, JFK Middle School, 155 Raffia Road, Enfield
  • April 18, Cheshire Town Hall, 84 South Main Street, Cheshire
  • April 23, Madison Town Hall, 8 Campus Drive, Madison

For more information, contact CBIA's Louise DiCocco (860.244.1169) | @LouiseDiCocco