Once again, Connecticut politicians are trying to figure out what to do about tolls. Bring them back? Keep them in the past? Who knows!
One thing for certain is: tolls make money. And Connecticut is in desperate need of money.
So, the annual ritual of debating whether or not these bad boys should make a grand return to our highways has commenced.
CT Post reports that the General Assembly is in the middle of figuring out if electronic tolls are a good or bad idea. Personally, I really don’t see the harm in them. Besides, too many people cut through our state because we’re, like, the only one without any.
Plus, our roads are a gigantic mess. I’d rather pay in pocket change to drive on the highway than forking over hundreds to a mechanic because a pot hole ate my car. But, that’s just me. To each their own.
Hartford State Rep. Henry Genga filed a bill to bring electronic tolls, like the E-ZPass, to our major roadways. The proposal is getting a major boost from Branford state Senator Ted Kennedy, who happens to be the Democratic Party’s next rising star.
Anyways, a recent study says putting tolls on our highways could generate about $46 billion over 25 years.
However, the transportation committee thinks now really isn’t the time to mention the dreaded T-word. State Senator Toni Boucher of Wilton says the Legislature will hold a hearing on the matter and take a vote. However, she’s not optimistic it’ll go anywhere.
Then again, she’s not a big fan of tolls to begin with. She also is concerned Democrats want to use toll funds for their pet projects instead of fixing state roads.
I mean, let’s think about what happened with the state income tax. And how it was supposed to be a “temporary” thing.
So, yeah, I see her point, too.
Another critical toll opponent is Connecticut’s Governor. Dan Malloy refuses to embrace the idea and said he will not call for highway tolls in his upcoming budget. He also said they take about four years to install.
Instead, he’s proposing to set aside $100 billion over the next 30 years to improve our roads, rails, and bridges.
Still his spokesperson says he’s keeping the option on the table. At the moment, our government is looking into everything.
Like, one possibility includes a “lockbox” to keep the government from dipping into the Special Transportation Fund for irrelevant items.
Another idea is tacking on “congestion pricing,” which would only charge commuters during peak travel time.
Either way, the state needs money and the last thing we the people want is another tax hike.
Connecticut’s been without tolls since the horrific accident of 1983, when a semi-truck crashed into a booth in Stratford and killed 7 people.
Perhaps it is time to bring them back. What do you think?