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Connecticut House Fails To Debate Highway Toll Bill

Elise Amendola

Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, a Berlin Democrat, is blaming the Republican minority for his failure this week to have the House debate a bill that could lead to the return of tolls on Connecticut's highways.

Aresimowicz says the return of tolls is needed to avoid the state’s Special Transportation Fund running out of money by 2020. But he had to withdraw the bill from debate twice this week – on Wednesday and Thursday – because he could not get any support from the Republican caucus.

“Many of their members I think are great members. But they got to admit what they are doing for the citizens of Connecticut. This is a shell game they are moving the ball every single time to avoid all the tough votes. Come to the table.”

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, a Republican from Derby, says her caucus probably has "one vote at most" for tolls.

“Once again we are not going to put our fingerprint on that murder weapon."

The Motor Transport Association of Connecticut estimates tolls could cost the typical family $7,500 over the next 20 years. That would average to about $375 a year.

Speaker Aresimowicz says it’s likely that tolls will now be brought up during budget negotiations following the end of regular session on June 7.

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.