Insanity can be defined as, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Gov. Ned Lamont’s approach to tolls meets this definition, and is fatally flawed.
The governor’s proposed bill adds to the already excessive tax burden on the citizens of Connecticut. Its goal is to pour more and more money into the maw of Connecticut government, without any change in managing how the money is spent. In addition, it allows future legislatures to evade accountability for toll increases.
The first fatal flaw in this legislation is that it fails to make any changes in the incredibly inefficient Department of Transportation. What we should do is: 1) eliminate existing DOT work rules that create unaffordable featherbedding, 2) put all contracts out to bid allowing DOT to compete against towns, cities and private contractors (without prevailing wage clauses), and 3) adopt more modern construction techniques including the use of modular pre-cast concrete structures.
The second fatal flaw is that the setting of future toll rates will be given to an appointed commission (which will given the status of a “legislative agency”) with no accountability to voters. Who among you believe that the initial “reasonable” rates of 4.4 cents per mile during peak hours and 3.5 cents during off-peak hours will long endure? Any future changes in toll rates should require a vote of the state legislature, so citizens can hold their elected official accountable for any proposed tax increases.
The third fatal flaw is that tolls are a regressive tax, adding to Connecticut’s already excessive tax burden.
What can a concerned citizen do? Call or write to your state senator and representative and assure them that they have no chance of reelection if they vote for this fatally flawed bill. The governor knows he does not have the votes, so has called for a special legislative session and encouraged more discussion.
Make your voices heard!
James Miller, a resident of Lyme, was an investment banker at Merrill Lynch from 1984 – 1996.
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