Sen. Martin raises questions about tolls

Connecticut Senate Republicans released a transportation investment plan that does not rely on tolls or new taxes. The proposal, Fiscal Accountability & Sustainable Transportation Reform CT (FASTR CT), shows a path forward to invest in transportation, adopt responsible fiscal policies and establish accountability without asking for more from overburdened taxpayers. “We all agree that Connecticut needs to improve our transportation system. A reliable and modern transportation system is a key to a healthy economy and job growth. But Senate Republicans disagree that tolls need to be part of the solution,” said Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “We recognize the hard work that Governor Lamont has put into his CT2030 plan, but we do not support tolls, which is why we worked to offer this no-tolls alternative. We developed FASTR CT to show that there is another way to invest in transportation and grow jobs in a manner that is sustainable and accountable to taxpayers – all without tolls. “In Connecticut, trust in government is a major issue for residents. This plan would restore what has been stolen from transportation over the last decade,” said Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Kevin Witkos (R-Canton). “We do not need tolls or tax increases,” said Senator Henri Martin, Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee. “We can improve our roads, rail and bridges with a significant investment all by adopting smart fiscal policies, better managing state dollars and leveraging federal aid.” FASTR CT invests $18 billion in transportation, including roads and rail, between now and 2030. It leverages federal low interest loans and creates accountability and a vetting process for all transportation projects. FASTR CT allows for cash financing to be used for transportation projects and also dramatically cuts back on state borrowing, eliminating all state Special Tax Obligation bonds for transportation by 2022, thereby

State Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol), ranking member of the Transportation Committee, raised questions about the Democrats’ “trucks only” toll proposal.

An informational hearing on the proposal was held at the Legislative Office Building at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan 31.

“The proposal leaves the door wide open on extending tolls to cars in as few as two years from now,” Martin said in a press release. “It allows an appointed council to increase toll rates without any check or balance from an elected body. Where is the accountability to taxpayers? The bill limits which trucks can be tolled, but has no limits on rate increases. Where is the clarity? Lack of clarity on purpose. Car tolls are clearly next. Not only am I bothered by the vague nature of the proposal, but more so the manner in which it is being rushed through.”

At the public hearing DOT Commissioner, said Martin’s press release, Joseph Giulietti said that they are modeling the trucks only toll after Rhode Island, and the toll will only be for Classes 8-13. Giulietti said that New York has had truck only tolling, and he believes Rhode Island will be successful, and the money from the tolls would provide bus shelters, new bus stop signage, and eventually electric buses, and the tolls are tax deductible. He also made the argument that tractor-trailer trucks don’t buy gas in Connecticut, and they just drive through the state without stopping, said the news release.