Next week’s expected vote on tolls has been canceled by Democrat legislators, leaving its future in doubt.
But those same leaders have apparently decided they didn’t actually have that support; an official reason for the vote’s postponement has not been provided. Lamont and fellow Democrats had hoped to pass the bill in a special session before the regular session starts on Feb. 5.
The controversial tolls plan has been given mixed reviews by members of both parties around the state. Twenty-eight municipalities have passed “no tolls” resolutions, including Danbury, Newtown, Shelton, Sherman, Stamford and Trumbull.
Republican lawmakers state Sen. Tony Hwang and state Rep. Laura Devlin hosted a press conference on Thursday at the Westport train station to raise questions about the tolls bill.
“This tolls bill contains no rail improvements,” Hwang said. “Tolls were first marketed to Fairfield County residents as a way to speed up the commutes for those using the rail system to improve quality of life and economic viability, but those potential benefits are nowhere to be found in this latest toll legislation.”
The lawmakers said that if the tolls bill is passed into law, highway exits that are near the toll gantries could be closed in order to stop trucks from avoiding the charges and negatively impact local roads, business and public safety with increased traffic density.
“These exit closures will force residents to reroute their everyday lives,” said Devlin, the head House Republican on the legislature’s Transportation committee. “Already overtaxed local businesses will have to survive another challenge to getting customers in their doors.”
A public hearing on the plan is still scheduled for today at 1 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.