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House Democratic leaders have proposed a new plan that would install highway tolls for trucks only on 12 bridges across the state, as opposed to Gov. Ned Lamont’s CT2030 initiative, which would have included tolls on 14 bridges for all vehicles.
“While I appreciate Sen. Fasano’s proposal to partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments, taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund is a risky proposition that requires serious evaluation," says Gov. Ned Lamont.
“We developed FASTR CT to show there is another way to invest in transportation and grow jobs in a manner that is sustainable and accountable to taxpayers — all without tolls," said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano.
The future of the governos’s ambitious 10-year, $21 billion CT2030 plan is very much in doubt, with state Republicans remaining skeptical and several of his fellow Democratic lawmakers hedging their bets as next year’s election looms.
The plan is receiving positive reviews from Lamont's fellow Democrats, the Connecticut AFL-CIO, and the Business Council of Fairfield County -- and opposition from state Republicans, the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, and Westchester County politicians.
CT 2030 includes tolls on 14 highway bridges, instead of the 50 toll gantries on four major highways -- the Merritt Parkway and Interstates 84, 91 and 95 -- that the governor had originally proposed.
Although the governor's new transportation plan includes fewer tolls, the state's Republican leaders are still against them.
The DRS now says that the new 7.35% sales tax rate on prepared foods, due to go into effect Oct. 1, should be applied only to items already subjected to the sales tax, such as prepared foods served as part of a supermarket catering service.
Gov. Ned Lamont said his administration is working with Revenue Services to eliminate some of the items included in the tax.
The affected items range from ice pops, doughnuts and bagels to pizza slices, beer, fruit juices, and coffee and tea if already prepared for drinking.
"It is simply a money grab, that's all it is," said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano.
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney and Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano found a bipartisan common ground on this issue.
According to the governor, the pact will result in a budgetary savings in the General Fund for each fiscal year through 2032 of between $115 and $121 million.
"We were looking at a $3.7 billion deficit, and today I am proud to say that we’ve closed it without an increase to tax rates and while ensuring that the safety net remains intact for the most vulnerable in our communities,” Lamont said.
The governor has also proposed widening I-95 west of New Haven to reduce congestion, which he said would cut commuting time to New York by as much as 22 minutes.