To The Editor:
I attended the Republican legislators’ presentation on highway tolls at Bristol Central High School. They did a good job of explaining how transportation infrastructure projects are funded in Connecticut, and the audience came away with an appreciation for how many moving parts there are to this multi-billion dollar topic. The Republicans acknowledged that Connecticut will need a lot of highway construction projects over the next 30 years, and they did not dispute the cost of these projects. Nor did they dispute that the state needs to borrow this money – these aren’t “pay as you go” projects.
Where they break with the governor is over how to pay for these highway bonds.
The governor’s plan would have the people who use our highways pay for them. The Republicans want the taxpayers to pay for them.
Under the governor’s plan roughly half of the toll revenue will come from out-of-state motorists. The Republicans want only Connecticut taxpayers to pay for these bonds.
Gov. Lamont recently stated that Connecticut has borrowed way too much money over the years and is putting the state on a “debt diet”.
The Republicans, to their credit, agree with this – but they don’t say which projects they would eliminate to keep infrastructure debt under the bond cap. Dismissing them as “pet projects and political handouts” is not transparent.
At the close of the meeting state Rep. Laura Devlin of Fairfield said that the 53 toll gantries proposed by Lamont would make CT “the most tolled state” in America. This is so misleading that it borders on being untrue. The number of toll gantries isn’t what determines how much in tolls we will pay – it’s the amount of the toll times the number of gantries that determines it. Saying that this plan will make Connecticut the “most tolled state” is deceptive and dishonest.
Bristol residents deserve the facts about tolls, and not misleading hyperbole.