Connecticut lawmakers could vote any time on a measure to impose a costly new tolling system on the state.
Ned Lamont, Connecticut’s first-term Governor, wants electronic tolling to be placed on vehicles, cars and trucks, on all three major highways, I-84, I-91, I-95, and Route 15 – which spans from Stamford to Hartford.
The tolls put forth in Mr. Lamont’s budget would appear on every single major route in the State. Studies have found that the brunt of the burden will be put on the taxpayers of Connecticut, almost 60-75% of the revenue brought in to the state, from tolling, would be paid by residents.
Proponents argue the state’s recently-passed transportation lockbox makes the tolls user fees and a non-issue. Having the lockbox is better than not having one, but legislators have ways to get around it if they want to.
Currently, the State faces a political dilemma as well; if tolls are put in, the State could lose the $528.6 million from the federal government that has been afforded to the state because they do not have tolls.
“The Reason Foundation found that Connecticut ranked 44th in cost effectiveness for highway performance. They found that Connecticut spends nearly $480,000 for each mile of road versus a national average is just over $160,000 per mile.
“The Foundation reports that administrative costs significantly contribute to the $480,000 price. Connecticut spent more than $83,000 per mile in administrative costs compared to $10,000 per mile nationally. Connecticut still outspends the national total average by more than $250,000 per mile even if those costs are subtracted.”
The Hartford Courant, recently outlined five reasons why tolling in Connecticut will be bad:
- It already costs too much to drive in state
- It will take a very long time for the State to see return on the tolls
- It is another tax hike
- Pennsylvania is $11 billion in debt from attempting to put in tolls
- Chaos for drivers – Exits are a mile apart in Southwestern Connecticut, you will suffocate them
Another concern is that jobs and businesses would be impacted. With higher taxes, would come lost jobs, lower wages, and another fiscal crisis for the state. Peter Malone, the CEO of Thurston Foods, a Wallingford-based supplier of lunch foods, has stated that if tolls are put in, his business of 215 employees, 60 trucks, and 3,000 customers would cost his business close to $250,000 per year alone.
Connecticut residents already pay a huge tax burden, including on transportation related costs. According to the American Petroleum Institute, Connecticut drivers pay 43.8 cents per gallon in state taxes. In addition, residents of the State of Connecticut also pay an $18 gasoline tax, which was found to be the 7th highest in the nation.