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Bond Commission Approves Controversial Highway Toll Study

Interstate 95
Bob Child

The Connecticut Bond Commission has approved a request from Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy to borrow up to $10 million to study the possibility of reinstating tolls on the state’s highways. The approval came despite strong opposition from Republican politicians who argue that the study would be a waste of taxpayer money.

Governor Malloy is pushing back on the Republican opposition. He says Connecticut’s Special Transportation Trust Fund is projected to run out of money for new projects in five years, so it makes sense to begin the process of studying electronic tolls now to determine how much money could be generated by them since Connecticut is losing out to its neighbors that have already instituted tolls.

“I don’t want to hear from Republicans that we lose jobs to Boston if they are not willing to give us a transportation system that competes with Boston. I don’t want to hear Republican lawmakers now or in the future complain that we are winning our share of job growth from New York City unless they are willing to invest in a modern highway system. And rail system.”

Senate Republican President Len Fasano argues that the study is unnecessary.

“The people of Connecticut don’t want tolls. They just don’t want to be pickpocketed any more. We don’t need to do a toll study. The next governor coming, whoever that’s going to be, they can make that decision.”

In the meantime, Fasano says Republican lawmakers have proposed a plan they say reprioritizes state transportation spending. But Malloy’s transportation commissioner says the Republican plan falls short because its fails to find new funding for the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund.

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.