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“The extra cost to trucking companies will ultimately be passed on to families with increased prices on food, home heating oil and more," warned Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford).
The Transportation and Climate Initiative, scheduled to be voted upon by the state Environment Committee tomorrow, promises Connecticut at least a 26% reduction in carbon emissions from transportation from 2022 to 2032.
The bill seeks to “construct, maintain and operate electronic tolling systems on Interstate Route 84, Interstate Route 91, Interstate Route 95 and portions of Connecticut Route 15.”
The state's Special Transportation Fund could become insolvent by 2024, according to the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Even with the gloomy forecast -- which Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw said were conservative -- "Connecticut is in a stronger position than most states, thanks to our fiscal prudence and the safeguarding of our budget reserve," according to Democratic state Senate leaders Martin Looney and Bob Duff.
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.
GOP leader Len Fasano wondered if the governor is "going to take a stand on anything, or is he going to continue operating in fear of Democrat legislators?”
Under the Democrat' plan, tolls gantries would be placed roughly every six to seven miles on I-84, I-95, I-91 and Route 15.
The fight over highway tolls between Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and state Senate Republicans has centered in part on an internal Department of Transportation memo.
"A 21st century economy cannot be supported by a 20th century transportation system," says Gov. Ned Lamont; "This is a total abrogation of responsibility," respond GOP leaders.
Reductions in service that had been scheduled to take effect on July 1 have been canceled. The state will still "need to find new, long-term funding sources to replace dwindling gas tax revenues," Gov. Dannel Malloy said. "This should not be seen as optional – it’s critical to Connecticut’s future.”
The legislator, whose district includes Danbury, New Fairfield and Sherman, has accused Gov. Dannel Malloy of using the funds as a political football.
"We can no longer afford to wait – it’s time for action," said the governor.
“Democrats now want to draw blood from a stone and impose yet another tax on the people of our state,” said Danbury Mayor and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Boughton.
Meanwhile, a new AAA poll of Connecticut drivers found that 47 percent favor electronic tolls as the best option for transportation funding.
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