Every once in a while it rears it’s ugly head- The Great Connecticut Toll Debate. Will they return? Should they return?
It’s been over thirty years since our state has seen the annoyance of toll booths, but they may become a reality if Governor Malloy has anything to say about it. In a recent speech he once again said he will not rule out the return of tolls to pay to update our transportation system. In his budget address that took place today, he says that he by “Making smart choices usually means tough choices.” So did he acknowledge the tolls today? We’ll get to that.
So- How do we widen I-84 in Hartford and Danbury? How do we update the Mixmaster in Waterbury? How about the Viaduct? What about 95 between Bridgeport and NY? Old Saybrook to New London needs repairs- How? Route 7 congestion? Clearly these roads need help. The traffic is outrageous. Is this worth tolls?
The one person that’s not on board with any of this is Republic Mayor Mark from Danbury. Not ever the one to keep quiet, he insists that adding a toll to the border will deter people from shopping at the Danbury Fair Mall. Being on the state line, Danbury sees a lot of shoppers from New York. He thinks that these shoppers will no longer travel across the border if a toll is in place.
The average Connecticut commuter spends 42 hours a year in traffic.
Gridlock in Connecticut causes businesses a loss of four billion dollars a year.
There are roads that are beyond their useful life and tons of money are being spent to keep them operable.
So, in the budget proposal today did he say whether we would be getting those tolls? Nope. But he did say that he would be compiling a group of experts in transportation and finance to figure it out. Here’s the one thing I know for sure, all those people who call Connecticut “that place between New York and Massachusetts” will think twice before they enjoy our free roads. Because I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before we’ll be racking up the charges with our EZ-Passes. The one plus side of possibly getting tolls? I would put money on it that our gas tax will be lowered… and that may be worth the compromise since we have the fifth highest gas tax in the country.