Stamford Mayor David Martin and several other Democratic leaders in Fairfield County have expressed support for Gov. Ned Lamont’s controversial plan to add 14 tolls around the state, while most of the county’s Republican officials are against it.
The split, mostly along party lines, reflects the parameters of a similar dispute in the capitol.
“Like many residents in Stamford, I don’t like paying tolls, but I applaud the governor’s courageous commitment to fixing our transportation infrastructure while being financially responsible,” Martin said in a statement. “We all have to face the tough choices and cannot keep kicking the can down the road.”
The 10-year, $21 billion CT2030 plan addresses the implementation of a host of changes to the state’s highways, trains and airports. The funding would include income from tolls on 14 bridges, as well as from low-interest federal loans and other sources.
Earlier this year, Stamford’s Board of Representatives voted against the installation of tolls, as did the Trumbull Town Council and the Sherman Board of Selectmen. Those acts were not legally binding, and took place before CT2030 was unveiled.
Another Democrat, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, said he was still reviewing CT2030. “At this point it is unclear how it may benefit our local strategic plans,” Ganim said, allowing that the plan’s stated interest in possibly returning commercial air service to Sikorsky Airport is of particular interest to the city.
Among other Democrats, Newtown First Selectman Dan Rosenthal has also said he needs to study the plan further, although he has expressed reservations about tolls’ impact on his town and the surrounding area; he said he expects to learn more after a call with Lamont later today.
State Rep. Steve Stafstrom of Bridgeport has been in favor of tolls, as has Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi.
On the Republican side, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, both of whom ran unsuccessfully for governor last year, have voiced their opposition to tolls and attended anti-toll protests in their cities. State Rep. Brenda Kupchick, who recently was elected First Selectman of Fairfield, has also been against the idea, as have state Reps. Laura Devlin (Fairfield, Trumbull) and Mitch Bolinsky (Newtown) and state Sen. Tony Hwang (Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton, and Newtown).