Gov. Dannel Malloy has given the taxpayers of Connecticut a going away gift. The state Bond Commission approved the governor’s $10 million feasibility study to look at the impact of placing tolls on some state highways on Wednesday.
“The item on today’s agenda will not enact tolls in Connecticut. That can only be done through an act of the legislature,” Malloy said in prepared remarks. “What it will do is study our options. It will give the legislature more information of what tolls would look like, what kind of revenue they would raise, and what the impact would be on our roads and environment.”
Wednesday’s action by the governor comes after the General Assembly failed to approve the study.
Malloy seems to be following the lead of other states like nearby Rhode Island that recently began tolling truckers with the intent of funding maintenance and repair of state bridges and roads that have fallen into dangerous disrepair.
Rhode Island is being sued by the American Truckers Association over the move.
Connecticut’s budget woes continue to plague state departments, cities, towns and residents.
The most recent reports indicate that the state budget deficit is $387 million.
And, Malloy noted that the state transportation fund needs a new revenue stream to maintain the state’s infrastructure.
But can bringing back tolls on interstates float the state DOT? That’s what Malloy says the toll study will answer, claiming the information will be available to the incoming administration.
While it’s no secret that Connecticut needs revenue, tolling motorists is just another form of taxation.
Even if the tolls were limited to commercial truckers, consumers could eventually feel the impact through higher prices for goods and services.
With the state’s budget woes and sluggish economy, spending $10 million on a toll study is foolish.
Instead, we can simply monitor the results of trucker tolls in Rhode Island and make better use of that $10 million through increased aid to cities and towns, education and economic development.