Controversial Truck-Only Tolling Plan Nearing Passage in Yet Another State
Hartford, CT – Truckers hauling in and through Connecticut may soon be digging deeper into their pockets if Governor Ned Lamont and the state’s Democratically-controlled General Assembly get their way.
In November 2019, Gov. Lamont introduced a controversial 10-year, $19.4 billion infrastructure investment plan known as CT2030.
As part of CT2030, the state would construct a “high-speed gantry system” and would charge tolls as high as $12.80 for tractor-trailers along a dozen Connecticut highway bridges.
Gov. Lamont says that approximately 50% of the revenue generated from the truck-only tolls will be from “out-of-state” truckers.
Further, Lamont says revenues from the tolls will “go directly into the CT2030 transportation program to pay for the costs of the truck toll bridges and to fund other needed transportation improvements in Connecticut, including eligible transportation improvements within affected municipalities for roads, bridges, transit, etc.”
State lawmakers are mostly split along partisan lines on the proposal, with Democrats supporting the plan while most Republicans are opposed.
However, Democrats hold majorities in both the state House and Senate and emerged from a closed door session on Tuesday expressing confidence that they have the votes to pass CT2030, according to WNPR.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, is a strong advocate for the truck-only tolls.
In a statement on Tuesday, Aresimowicz said Connecticut lawmakers have an easy choice to make.
“I don’t want us to continue to pick 18-wheelers over the state of Connecticut,” Aresimowicz urged. “That’s what we’re talking about here. It’s a silly discussion. We just need to move forward.”
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Initially, the plan also called for tolls rates ranging from $1.25-2.50 for medium duty trucks.
However, lawmakers are now doing away with this idea after local business owners expressed concern the added costs will harm them.
“It would have captured a lot of the small businesses in the state, such as the oil trucks that deliver oil to our homes, the FedEx’s, the UPS’s, the small box trucks,” Senator Carlo Leone, D-Stamford, said of the previous version. “We wanted to minimize even that impact on Connecticut businesses.”
Numerous Republican state lawmakers are expressing outrage over both the plan and the process.
“There is no toll plan. Let’s be clear. I’m not really sure what today was really about,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven. “They don’t have a bill. They don’t have a plan. They’re saying it’s changing as we talk. The revenue is going down.”
Aresimowicz concedes the bill is not yet “written up,” but says once the bill is in the hands of his Democratic colleagues he is “very comfortable” they will support it.
Last May, Aresimowicz was intent on helping Gov. Lamont pass a previous plan, which included posting up to 50 tolling gantries across four major routes: Interstates 95, 91, 84 and the Merritt Parkway.
Though his attempts ultimately failed, Arisimowicz boasted at the time that waiting until the last minute to provide a final bill was a political strategy attempting to limit the amount of time Republicans and opponents had to “spread misinformation” about the proposal.
Republicans are not alone in their opposition to CT2030.
Anti-tolling organizations like “No Tolls CT” are actively fighting the truck-only tolling plan.
“No Tolls CT has identified 14 Senators, 9 of which need to be convinced to vote NO to Tolls,” a recent post on its website states.
The group is asking for those concerned about the issue to contact three state lawmakers each day.
If you are interested in learning more about how to do so, click HERE.
TransportationNation.com will continue to follow this story.