Sometimes wishing for ‘the good ole days’ requires revisionist history, but I do remember when Connecticut was a state that reflected issues that we all face in a bipartisan fashion. Solutions were viewed with the aim of ensuring a quality of life for all of its citizens. Party lines were not the determinant of how our legislators voted. They were leaders!

The dire state of our infrastructure: roads, bridges, transportation is one arena that demands a bipartisan solution; in Gov. Ned Lamont’s words, to solve this crisis we need to put our state on a “debt diet,” giving us income opportunity. Tolls as suggested in the bill before our legislature is an opportunity to gain revenue and not increase expense. The protection of the newly created transportation lock box will ensure that the money raised will be directed appropriately. The opposition seems to be trying to convince us that bonding, a borrowing tool, will ease the debt crisis. It does just the opposite. It creates an immediate cash flow by putting off the pay back.

A toll is a user fee just as our paying for a train, bus, or taxi is a user fee; this is for car and trucks using our roads. Out-of-state drivers will add $320 million (40 percent of the revenue gained) to our state coffers each year. Bonding, on the other hand, adds 20 years of debt to an already burdened budget. What will we have to give up to balance the budget to pay for the bonding?

Sandy Lefkowitz lives in Westport.

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6 Comments

  1. I completely agree with this viewpoint and reiterate, “out-of-state drivers will add $320 million (40 percent of the revenue gained) to our state coffers each year.” Our neighboring states (NH, RI, NY MA) are now way ahead of us in collecting these revenues. The infrastructure is easy to set up (just look how quickly MA and others converted to “booth-less” tolling (23 setups on 132-plus miles of road) – and CT should be much simpler. Not sure why we are such a “stick in the mud,” on this issue. More residents of these neighboring states pass through our lovely state, than CT residents pass through theirs and we give them all a free ride. Our new state slogan should change to “Come to Connecticut – no cost to pass through our state to your destination.” We can do better than this.

    1. So you’re saying CT residents are not taxed enough yet and every dollar is currently accounted for and used well?

  2. Regarding tolls, 1) CT residents who commute to and from work need an exemption/rebate program for their daily drive. 2) Ct residents who own personal vehicles under 8000 pounds should get a better toll rate 3) The majority of toll income should come from commercial vehicles, like Rhode Island, since our location provides a good opportunity for income. Yet While CT resident are paying more on other levels, personal vehicle use for work should not be one of these added burdens.

  3. Ok agree we do not need more debt. However I think we need the whole story based on what I’ve read so far, it will be three or four years until the toll gantries are in place. I’ve seen speculation that the plan is to sell the securitized future revenues to wall street . If true, Wall Street will put a discounted risk factor on the future revenues which will cost us more than straight debt.
    While we’re at it, if future revenue securitization is such a great idea let’s do it with our white elephant busway. Oh right, there aren’t enough revenues from our 700 plus million investment in the busway to make securitization worth while.
    The press loves to call Trump a lier. Why don’t I see the same label applied to our governor?

  4. Tolls used to raise revenue are defined by the court as a tax, sorry. Please show your math that shows out of state drivers will generate 40% of toll revenue.

  5. If we want to call it a use fee rather than tax I’m fine with it but everyone should be paying there own use fee. If you stop funding pet project trains and buses and subsidizing their “user fee”, the transportation fund would already have all the money it needs for roadways. Stop taking pension money from the transportation fund as well. Remember, this was already in a lock box and it was diverted (stolen) before the money entered the fund. Not another cent to this government until we get a full accounting of every dollar spent.

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