Nobody really likes tolls…. unless they are a better option than the alternatives.

What I do not like is that my daily commute to Grand Central Terminal is now 30 minutes longer. As a consequence, the value of my home in Westport has decreased.

What I do not like is worrying about the safety of the roads and bridges while traveling on the Connecticut highways, since 57 percent of public roads are in poor condition and 338 bridges rated as structurally deficient.

What I really do not like is that these issues are becoming divisive instead of bringing all of the Connecticut residents together to find fair and common sense solutions.

Nobody denies that there is an infrastructure crisis in Connecticut  Connecticut is the only state on the eastern seaboard without tolls to fix these problems.

Bonding is not a sustainable source of revenue.   Also, it lets out-of-staters off the hook.   Connecticut residents should not have to pay 100 percent of the costs when out-of-state drivers represent 40 percent of the traffic.  

Introducing fair, safe and flexible tolls is a much better solution for the long-term safety and health of our beautiful state.  Connecticut can do better!

Joëlle Berger lives in Westport.

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9 Comments

  1. The Governor, Speaker of the House and Democratic Legislators have put party ideology and bending to wants and needs of their special interest supporters, above the financial well being of our state. This isn’t about tolls, no tolls, etc. It is about the truth and need for legislators to mandate equal sacrifice and commitment by all residents How can someone state they’re legislating fairly, when they continue to award 3% COLA to individuals receiving taxpayer funded pensions in excess of $300,000.00 per year. While at the same time. mandating by law, elderly fixed income residents lose up to 25% of their net income to state income, and property taxes. This is no longer about so fairness, it is now only about the truth!

  2. Show your math that out of state drivers will generate 40% of toll revenue. What other Eastern seaboard state has the number of tolls envisioned by Connecticut?

  3. I would ask this:
    Who pays for the maintenance of I-84, I-88 & I-87 North of Albany in NY?
    Who pays for the maintenance of I-91, I-93, I-190, I-290 & I-495 in MA
    These are not tolled roads yet CT drivers get to use them.
    The reality is that we all contribute through the subsidies provided by the Feds.

    Based on my travels throughout the Northeast, I find CT roads to be in better (but not great) condition than in states with tolls.

    Better management of the revenues extracted originally for transportation infrastructure is what’s needed.

  4. Another toll booster with the same talking points. We are against a blanket of tolls. Not all tolls. Toll the borders, some bridges but not the entire freaking state. Your toll plan is a $500 million tax. And most of us don’t commute to NYC. Your hour ride in by the way doesn’t affect the value of your home. An hour is nothing.

  5. From what I last read, there would be 50 gantry’s which basically is 25 since what is counted is the gantry going in the opposite direction as well as the one you are travelling in. I am good with that. Be aware, however, I believe that the money can only be used on those roads tolled – so it won’t be used for rte 44, for example. At least, this is what I have been told by a legislative aide. But it frees up money budgeted for the smaller routes, bridges and alternative modes of transportation. It is sad that countries like Bolivia and Thailand ( where I traveled) have better roads and transportation systems, at least in their big cities, than this country.

    1. Do people not come home from work? Of course it is 50 gantries, not “basically 25.”

  6. Tolls are most likely to be placed where they will capture the most traffic — near the cities on I-95, I-84, I-95, and R-15. This means that modest wage workers from the poor, under-developed, jobless cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, and Waterbury,
    who are forced to commute, will bear the brunt of the tolls.
    IT’S HIGHWAY ROBBERY!
    No matter how it’s spun, it disenfranchises the poor cities that, at election time, Lamont claimed were his priority…
    There is no real transportation plan in existence that is married to a rational redevelopment scheme for Connecticut and its cities. Any “extra” money garnered for transportation will be used to maintain the tax-base development status quo in Connecticut, which means that we, as a state, will lose further ground socially and economically, marginalizing more Connecticutians into poverty even as we concentrate more affluence in the Gold Coast and Hartford suburbs — further sharpening the income-education gap and the “boundaries” between the two Connecticuts in the context of other Third-World-like entities…
    Tolls are regressive, in any event, for a state like Connecticut. They shouldn’t even be considered until we have a rational, thoroughly-considered, comprehensive, master transportation plan for our long-term future that is married to — an integral part of — a rational, thoroughly considered, comprehensive master plan for the long-term economic/social development of the whole of Connecticut, with the focus on the cities… In the meantime, borrow to maintain transportation safety, if necessary, but No TOLLS. NO HIGHWAY ROBBERY!

  7. Tolls on borders and bridges maybe. Tolls on the way to the grocery store are UNACCEPTABLE!

  8. “Connecticut is the only state on the eastern seaboard without tolls to fix these problems.”
    Have you ever considered the genesis of tolls in the surrounding states?
    The MA Turnpike construction was conceived as a tolled road and its construction paid for by tolls and ultimately switched over to funding maintenance. However, I’m not sure what happens to the toll revenue after the Turnpike Authority was absorbed my MA Highway. MA also has tolls on (4) bridges or tunnels – again, to pay for maintenance and repairs. Other then these, MA does not toll any other interstate route.
    NY’s situation is similar, and they do NOT toll all interstate routes.
    RI set the the stage for CT’s idea that tolls could be an alternative for transportation revenue, and then allowing for other transportation funds to be diverted elsewhere.
    CT once had tolls on the CT Turnpike (aka I-95 now), the Merritt Parkway and several bridges. But CT never sought to upgrade to a MA Turnpike means of collection. Then the horrific accident in Stratford and all tolls were eliminated rather than modernized to a better and safer collection system.

    And here we are today with politicians seeing a revenue stream without knowing the full effects associated with imposing it.

    Joe has to put all the facts and text of the bill before the taxpayers so we can judge and offer feedback to those who represent us.

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