Letter: Reader says tolls are the question in November

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To the editor:

Your vote in November will determine whether Connecticut implement tolls. If a Democrat majority is returned to the General Assembly, then you will be paying tolls very soon. The Democrats passed a bill to assure that.

A summary of the bill from OLR Bill Analysis HB 5391 is “This bill requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to: 1. conduct studies and satisfy other conditions required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in order to develop electronic tolling systems on state highways; 2. procure a program manager and any other necessary consultants to help develop toll systems; and 3. develop a tolling proposal, to the bill’s specifications, and submit it to the legislature for approval. The bill establishes a legislative hearing and approval process for DOT’s proposal. Under the bill, the proposal is (1) approved upon a majority vote of both houses or (2) deemed approved if the legislature does not vote within the required timeframe.”

Please note that tolls are deemed passed if a vote is not taken. It appears to me that this bill prevents the next governor from stopping tolls. A major pushing point by the Democrats is that out-of-state drivers get a free ride in Connecticut. That does not appear to be true.

My state senator tells me that Connecticut receives about $250 million annually from the federal government because we don’t have tolls and we receive about $30 million from truck traffic that pays Connecticut according to their mileage logs. That’s about $280 million dollars that Connecticut will forfeit if we implement tolls. This is a separate issue from flex pricing of toll rates that will be used to avoid additional penalties.

It seems to me that it is likely that the tolls collected from out of state drivers will only replace what is lost from federal payments and the truck mileage revenue. If that is close to being correct, then all of the incremental revenue will be from Connecticut motorist.

Remember: Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D) tells us they we have a revenue problem, not a spending problem.

William Marcarelli, Southington

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