Charged with finding ways to pay for the 30-year, $100 billion transportation transformation plan proposed by Gov. Malloy, the Transportation Finance Panel has recommended many potential revenue sources.
- Raising the gas tax by two cents per year for seven years
- Increasing the wholesale fuel tax from 8.1% to 9.1%
- Hiking rail and bus fares by an annual 2.5%
- Congestion pricing
- Reintroduction of electronic tolls on highways
The panel also is calling for structural changes in how Connecticut accomplishes transportation projects—including streamlining procedures at DOT, giving local governments more autonomy, and improving the state’s planning processes.
According to the group’s report, Connecticut is facing “an ever-increasing drain on its economy because of the costs and uncertainties the heavy congestion on its key corridors imposes on businesses.”
That’s true, with a recent CBIA survey finding more than 75% of business leaders saying Connecticut’s transportation systems are key to their ability to move goods and services.
Many national competitiveness rankings have given Connecticut low marks for its transportation infrastructure.
And the daily grind faced by commuters and businesses throughout the state amounts to a $5.1 billion annual hit on lost time, wasted fuel, and higher operating costs, said TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation group.
Lawmakers, policymakers and taxpayers of all kinds will have to vet the panel’s recommendations, with administration and legislative leaders saying none of the revenue ideas will be proposed in this year’s session of the General Assembly.
The main order of business for lawmakers, apparently, will be considering another attempt at establishing the transportation “lockbox”—which the finance panel recommends and the governor insists on having.