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Connecticut House Democrats Say Highway Tolls Are Inevitable

Jessica Hill
Connecticut Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, stands on the dais prior to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget address at the state Capitol in Hartford, Conn., in February.

Connecticut Senate President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said on Wednesday that highway tolls are not a realistic option for the state in its effort to close its budget shortfall.

He says there is zero evidence that reinstating tolls on Connecticut highways, which were removed 30 years ago, would result in a profitable revenue stream for the state.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Berlin Democrat, disagrees. He says tolls would make a huge contribution to the state’s coffers.

“The amount of money raised in our neighboring states for their transportation projects from tolls is absolutely outstanding. And here we are with a special transportation fund that’s going to be broke in 2020-2021 unless we come up with answers. I know we’ll here from Senator Fasano and some of his ideas how we’ll fund transportation. We’ll listen. We’ll hear it out. But I do really believe that tolls are inevitable at some point in the state of Connecticut.”

The General Assembly’s Republican and Democratic caucuses, as well as Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, are scheduled to present revised budgets on Friday. Each plan will show how they intend to close the state’s budget shortfall that’s now estimated to be more than $2.5 billion.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.