If you thought you already pay too much in taxes, I have bad news for you. If you commute by train, you’ll fork up even more cash if these rail hikes go through.
Hartford Courant reports that officials aim to jack up rail fares by an astounding 10 percent in 2018. On top of that, they aim to implement two additional 5 percent hikes in 2020 and 2021. So, life sucks if you’re a train commuter.
DOT spokesman Judd Everhart laid out additional plans for the state’s train service:
“[A] “reduction of weekday off-peak service on Shore Line East, Danbury, Waterbury and New Canaan branches and elimination of weekend service on these rail lines. […] Without action by the General Assembly to ensure the long-term solvency of the Special Transportation Fund, we will need to raise fares and reduce service.“
Also, officials aim to have those who ride the bus pay an additional 25 cents per ticket. But that really doesn’t matter compared to what’s in store for our rails.
The State DOT explains called for these hikes due to major transportation financing problems. Then again, how many times can a state raid their transportation coffers before it backfires?
Basically, the special transportation fund needs about $1 billion within the next five years before stuff hits the fan. Oh, my bad, Malloy’s administration called for $1 billion in NEW revenue.
As in everyone’s favorite buzzword: tolls.
Personally, I hope our representatives vote against these egregious fare hikes and any and all additional ways to stick it to the taxpayers. Governor Malloy literally demonstrates the rule of insanity: doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Connecticut saw the two biggest tax increases in state history under this man. How in the world is the state running out of money so fast? On top of that, the state already pays the highest taxes for road infrastructure.
How is that not enough? Why are our gas, property, car taxes not enough? Oh, wait, it’s because it spends half of those taxes on NON-transportation programs.
Also, in 2016, Governor Malloy agreed to divert $50 million away from the special transportation fund to close the state spending gap.
In short, this transportation funding issue is simply not our problem. We, the taxpayers, did not create it. Actually, we strongly oppose raiding the transportation fund because we know what kicking the can down the road does.
Unfortunately, our lawmakers don’t agree with us.
Instead, they turn to the battered and bruised taxpayer, and demand we fix the problem they created. Considering this state has the highest percentage of people living paycheck to paycheck, we continue to lose our ability to bail out our lawmakers.
Top that off with Connecticut being the state with the worst income growth, we taxpayers really need a break.
Here’s the math: no pay increases + higher taxes + higher cost of living = reduced ability to actively contribute to our economy. So, small businesses, restaurants, entertainment venues, and recreational parks suffer the repercussions. And when they suffer, the economy suffers.
So, what do our lawmakers do? They want to add tolls into the mix.
well, that’ll make the blow to those aforementioned industries indefinitely worse. It’s all because Connecticut residents are already choosing where and how to spend their money. 10 out of 10 times, buying groceries or gas trumps going to the zoo or supporting the local baker.
Which is a shame considering Fairfield County experienced a major restaurant boom this year.
So, by hitting the taxpayer in a necessary expense will further cripple our spending capabilities.
Considering a good portion of residents rely on trains or buses to transport them to and from work, the fare hikes will directly cut into their ability to afford a comfortable lifestyle.
That said, something needs to change. Constant fare increases, tax hikes, and new ways to bleed that taxpayer dry doesn’t work. It never works. It only makes the problem worse.
Our lawmakers need to look elsewhere this time to bail themselves out. And, most definitely, do a little soul searching about which cash-gluttonous projects to cut. AKA, end the non-transportation projects that directly siphon from the special transportation fund.
And, no, don’t raid that teacher pension fund either. That’s another issue ready to blow up in all our faces.
All in all, the state will announce a list of hearings next week for these proposed rail hikes. So, if you hate the idea of paying more for riding the train or bus, or that you really hate tolls, you’ll know where to go to raise some hell.