NEW BRITAIN - A resolution on the proposed implementation of tolls on Connecticut highways presented by Alderman Kristian Rosado was sent to the unfinished-business list after a heated exchange between aldermen at the Common Council’s meeting Wednesday.
The public hearing portion of the meeting saw about nine people speak in favor of the resolution, to be taken up as the 12th item on the agenda.
The resolution on the proposed tolling of all vehicles was meant to send a message to Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature that New Britain’s Common Council opposes the plan, Rosado said.
According to Rosado, the implementation of tolls in Connecticut would result in increased traffic on secondary roads as drivers try to bypass the tolls.
Rosado also said increased traffic on secondary roads would affect quality of life for residents because of the presence of heavy-duty commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers. Those vehicles also would be subjecting streets to increased maintenance and repair costs resulting in an increased tax burden, Rosado said.
Alderman Jamie Giantonio supported Rosado’s resolution.
“This is not saying anything really about tolls,” Giantonio said. “It’s talking about the impact they would have on New Britain. One of the biggest selling points about this city is our access to highways. We can get on 72, we can get on 9, we can get on 84 really easily. If there’s tolls at all those places, like the resolution says, if I have to go from the West End over to Stanley Golf Course, I’m not getting on the highway and paying $1 each time I’m going through the town.”
Numerous amendments were introduced to be added to Rosado’s resolution. Some passed and some failed, but in the end, the entire resolution was tabled.
The alderman who said the most in opposition to Rosado’s proposal was Carlo Carlozzi, who said he would not vote without more information and wanted to give Rosado the opportunity to bring council members more facts. Carlozzi then wanted to make a motion to refer the proposal to committee.
“If you want me to vote with no facts, you got the wrong alderman,” Carlozzi said.
Alderman Don Naples called the resolution incomplete and suggested changing a use of “would” to “could.”
“If we just change one letter of one word in (the second item in the resolution), Alderman Carlozzi could vote in good conscience and that is: ‘The Common Council further believes the increased traffic on secondary roads would affect the quality of life of New Britain residents in numerous ways,” Naples said. Naples said the word between “roads” and “affect” should be changed to “could.”
Mayor Erin Stewart explained that the proposal will remain tabled until a motion is introduced to bring it back before the council.
“Here is the thing: You can’t take a motion off the table without a majority vote,” Stewart said. “In theory, if they don’t want to talk about it, it is dead.”
After the public hearing, Rosado thanked residents who spoke in support of his resolution.
Carmelo Rodriguez and other residents who took part in the meeting were disappointed that Rosado’s proposal was tabled.
“I believe that today is a sad day and is more of another bad day for the city of New Britain where we have Alderman Carlozzi table something that the community had come together for,” Rodriguez said. “Over 60 percent of the residents in the state of Connecticut are against tolls and today we were coming together as residents to ask all our aldermen to come together with us and speak on our behalf on something that’s definitely going to hurt our community.”
“I’m very disappointed in the Common Council, especially Carlo Carlozzi, because he always does this, always says that he doesn’t have enough information,” Kris Rutkowski said. “This is a get-nothing-done Common Council, as you can see. Nothing got done tonight.”
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.