Dismayed by Governor Malloy’s plan to use his executive authority to request to conduct a $10 million-dollar feasibility toll study by the Department of Transportation, State Reps. Pam Staneski (R-119) and Charles Ferraro (R-117) delivered a letter on July 19th to the Governor and all other members of the State Bond Commission asking that the commission oppose the $10 million request at their July 25th special meeting. In the letter both Reps. Staneski and Ferraro said they felt strongly that such use of taxpayer’s money is irresponsible on many levels, not the least of which is the fragile fiscal condition of our state.
In the 2018 General Assembly Session it was the will of leadership in the House of Representatives to not debate tolls legislation. “The concept of tolls was summarily dismissed as pressure mounted from the citizens of the State of Connecticut who did not want tolls and freely expressed that sentiment. The General Assembly as a body decided we would not expend money for a study of tolls,” said Rep. Staneski. “I received 100s of letters, calls and emails this past session almost all opposed to any sort of toll plan.”
Both Staneski and Ferraro believe that the fact that this item has now been fast-tracked for the July 25th Bond Commission special meeting not only disregards what the legislature explicitly and expressively decided but is a massive misuse of taxpayer’s dollars at a time when, on a bi-partisan vote, the legislature has made a commitment to get our fiscal situation under control through the Biennium Budget.
Rep. Ferraro said, “The tolls study is a frivolous spending plan that completely ignores the Legislative Branch at a time when the people of Connecticut have reached out to us as their elected officials and made it quite clear they do not want tolls.”
According to the Governor’s executive order, DOT would use the $10 million to conduct the following:
- Prepare a comprehensive assessment for possible electronic tolling on I-95, I-91, I-84, the Wilbur Cross Parkway, the Merritt Parkway, and any other limited access highways as determined by the DOT Commissioner, which includes potential toll monitoring and specifies proposed toll charges;
- Explore potential ways to provide discounts, tax credits, or other value-pricing options to Connecticut residents while ensuring out-of-state drivers contribute their fair share;
- Explore plans that could reduce motor vehicle fuel taxes; and
- Study the environmental impacts of electronic tolling systems.
The Special State Bonding Commission was scheduled to meet on Wednesday, July 25th to approve funding requests submitted by Governor Malloy. As chairman of the commission, Gov. Malloy has the discretion to determine which items are included in the bonding meeting.
The State Comptroller Kevin Lembo, who is a member of the State Bond Commission, has already expressed his intent to vote against the $10 million for a toll study.