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Vote on CT tolls pushed to at least next week; GOP threatens 30-hour filibuster

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The Connecticut state legislature’s much-delayed vote on tolls is being delayed again, with the process now not expected to begin until next week or later.

connecticut budget tolls transportationDemocrats are still debating among  themselves whether to allow the House or Senate to vote on the bill first, while Republicans, who have long maintained solidarity against tolls of any sort, are threatening to mount a filibuster of up to 30 hours.

Democrats hold a 91-60 majority in the House and a 22-14 majority in the Senate. But Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, D-New Haven, has said he can count on just 18 votes in favor of the bill, which if accurate would result in an 18-18 tie that would be broken by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz.

Bysiewicz has indicated she will support the bill, whose latest iteration – charging only trucks at 12 stops on highway bridges – is expected by proponents to raise about $175 million in annual revenue.

Among Democrats expected to oppose the bill is state Sen. Alex Bergstein, D-Greenwich, who has publicly indicated her preference for tolls on all vehicles.

As for which house of the General Assembly might vote on the issue first, Looney has floated the idea of the Senate voting on six of the bridges while the House simultaneously votes on the other six. The bills would then be exchanged for another round of voting.

That unusual plan has earned the ire of Republican leaders Sen. Len Fasano, New Haven, and Themis Klarides, Derby, who have threatened a 30-hour filibuster should it go through.

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