There is unanimous agreement that Connecticut’s infrastructure is in terrible shape: 300+ bridges are rated structurally deficient (their average age is 69 years vs. an expected life of 50 years; the average age of all state bridges is 53 and four are 100+). Today, trains must slow to a crawl to cross the worst bridges to lessen stress.

Two plans with solutions to fund comprehensive maintenance and upgrades to our transportation infrastructure are already on the table. A compromise bill could emerge this week.

Gov. Lamont’s plan– implement tolls: Tolls would be a new revenue source paid by users including out-of-staters; have flexible pricing for CT EZ Pass, frequent and low-income users. (Note that 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico all have tolls. 40 percent of drivers on CT roads are Out-of-Staters.) But toll revenue would not likely come onstream until 2022.

CT GOP – Issue Bonds: Prioritize bond issuance for transportation. Funding could start immediately but state taxpayers would pay the whole cost of 30-year bonds including a multiplier from interest. Other state projects would be deferred including school construction, municipal aid, clean water projects, brownfield remediation, housing programs and others. Today, bond repayment eats up 30 percent of the Department of Transportation’s budget.

Compromise bill? Implement tolls but issue some bonds now for fast action to fix the worst bridges and roads until toll receipts come online?

Call to action: We need tell our legislators to take action now. We need to fund building an infrastructure that can support a strong economy and attract/keep people and businesses. A compromise bill could support these goals.

The Mianus River Bridge that dropped 100 feet of roadway into the river below on June 28, 1983 was “only” 30 years old.

Jackie Kaiko lives in Stamford.

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Jackie Kaiko

Jacki Kaiko lives in Stamford.

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  1. “The Mianus River Bridge that dropped 100 feet of roadway into the river below on June 28, 1983 was “only” 30 years old.”
    And yet the lawmakers in Hartford continued to steal, over the years, from the fund to fix our infrastructure.

  2. The assertion that 40% of the drivers on our roads are out of state is incorrect. The idea that 40% of toll revenue will be from out of state drivers is also wrong.
    When that shortfall is realized who is going to pay in the form of increased toll rates and perhaps an extended number of tolls on additional roadways.
    Connecticut is proposing 50 overhead tolling stations. The original plan was 82. Name a New England state that has that many? How many Connecticut tolls were eliminated back in the 80s? Something like 15?
    Tools are a money grab pure and simple on an already overtaxed population.

  3. Thank you Jackie Kaiko for this well informed and important information. It is time to find bipartisanship and compromise in order to fix our roads and bridges before we witness another tragedy. I was appalled to see the GOP referring to the Dem plan as a nonstarter. Time to respect that all of our legislators have been elected to give voice to the people of CT. We need infrastructure fixed. Enough political posturing…time to find the compromise solution that does not just kick the debt can down the road. That’s is how we got into this situation to start with.

  4. In order to fast-track the implementation of tolls, CT will have to issue bonds to pay for it. Pluse issue bonds to pay for road maintenance. Plus issue bonds for infrastructure improvements.

    The yet to be clearly answered question – once the toll revenue comes in, what will be left for the roads after paying off the bonds that got us there?

  5. A better alternative. Outsource numerous government agencies ( DMV, etc.), sell off state owned buildings in large urban areas, reduce size of remaining government agencies and stop redirecting monies away from the Special Transportation Funds.

  6. Just for comparisons sake:
    – CT has 45,855 total road miles. Divide by 50 toll gantries and that’s 917 miles per gantry.
    – RI has 12,741 road miles and 10 gantries or 1,274 miles per gantry.
    – MA has 77,557 road miles and 20 gantries or 3,878 miles per gantry.
    – NY is almost impossible to figure because of the combination of gantries and off-highway toll booths or gantries.

    So we’re shooting to be the state with the least number of miles between toll gantries, and probably the highest per-mile toll rate in the Northeast.

    Gotta love it.

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