Hundreds Turn Out for Highway Tolls Hearing
Hundreds of people attended a March 6 Transportation Committee hearing on legislation implementing highway tolls in Connecticut.
While there was no disagreement about the condition of the state’s roads and bridges, there was plenty of viewpoints about how to address transportation funding needs.
HB 7202 implements Governor Ned Lamont’s recommendations for tolls on Interstate 84, I-91, I-95, and Route 15.
The governor has said vehicle tolls could generate an estimated $800 million in net revenue annually.
Lamont’s proposed budget calls for Connecticut drivers using the E-Z Pass system to receive at least a 30% discount.
His plan calls for 53 overhead gantries but does not say where they will be or how much motorists will be charged.
HB 7202 allows the state Department of Transportation to charge, retain, fix, and change the amount of all highway tolls.
The transportation commissioner would adopt regulations, which may include—but not be limited to—establishing variable toll rates.
The hearing also featured HB 7280, introduced by Democratic legislative leadership, which creates the Connecticut Transportation Finance Authority and requires the transportation commissioner to submit a tolling proposal to the General Assembly.
If the tolling proposal is filed when the General Assembly is in regular session, an informational hearing would occur within 10 days.
If tolling proposal is filed when the legislature is not in session, a hearing will occur no later than 10 days after the first day of the next regular session.
The General Assembly will vote to approve or reject the tolling proposal no later than 15 days after the informational hearing, requiring a majority vote in each chamber.
A controversial provision deems the bill approved if both chambers fail to vote during the 15-day period.
The authority’s appointed members would implement the tolling plan, and oversee payment of costs related to tolled highways.
The bill also establishes a Connecticut Transportation Infrastructure Bank Fund, which tghe authority would use to promote investment in projects.
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