To our state legislators:
As you are well aware, Gov. Ned Lamont is reportedly set to release a new transportation plan in the near future. Although we have yet to see the actual plan, news reports in the media indicate there are some positive changes in the administration’s overall approach to Connecticut’s future plans for transportation.
However, we at No Tolls CT cannot reiterate enough that tolls for Connecticut’s roads or bridges are not the way to move our state forward. The latest poll results from Sacred Heart University show the public remains steadfastly opposed to tolls.
Tolling would raise the cost of living for Connecticut residents and this state cannot continue to tax its residents year after year under the mistaken belief that the state can tax its way to prosperity. Promises of a strong economy and a financially stable government through imposition of the (temporary)income tax, the Connecticut lottery and the casinos have fallen flat as we still face budget shortfalls and calls for more revenue.
In short, the trust between the public and its government in Connecticut is broken.
No Tolls CT has made our position clear, and we have the support of the general public. In the interest of finding solutions to Connecticut’s transportation issues and restoring public trust in the state’s ability to manage its costs, we propose the following measures:
- A forensic line-by-line audit of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
- Restore the vehicle sales tax revenue that was diverted from the Special Transportation Fund.
- Limit transportation projects to those considered most urgent.
- Remove employee pension costs from the Special Transportation Fund.
- Reduce the administrative costs for Connecticut’s transportation projects.
- Limit bonding to that which can be supported with current revenues.
Connecticut will not be able to move forward until public trust in its government is restored. Before any additional tax increases can be imposed on the public — particularly tax increases related to transportation — the government must do its due diligence to ensure the state is spending the money it already receives from the public in a responsible manner and keeping its promises to the people of Connecticut.
We welcome discussion of these issues and ideas, but please know that we — and the people of Connecticut — remain steadfastly opposed to tolls in any way, shape or form and No Tolls CT will continue our grassroots campaign opposing these measures. This is not the time to impose yet another costly burden on Connecticut families.
Patrick Sasser is the founder of No Tolls CT.
Tolls are just another mechanism to pay for, and mask the failures and incompetence of our elected leaders. Tolls are not the answer, they are the problem!
The writer makes some very good points.
The only thing Connecticut excels at is mismanagement
and we are all suffering the consequences of easy shortcuts.
Tolls are just another tax.
Yes they are a tax. Lamont’s use of the term “user fee” is meant to sway public opinion.
The Governor and the Democratic party can solve this issue by reallocating a portion (5-10%) of the $21 Billion we provide each year in revenue solely to infrastructure projects that we can all benefit from. Yes, this means less investment in schools and other government programs but better transportation will help our business sectors and hopefully, all those kids we are educating can then afford to stay here. Business MUST come FIRST – without a huge increase in economic growth, Connecticut will never meet its financial obligations – we need businesses for that.
So since your organization is so opposed to tolls, I must assume that they are then in favor of raising the gas tax which has not been raised in 20 years. This is the problem with the polls you mention. Of course no one wants tolls but when you ask people would they rather have tolls that get the many out of state drivers on our roads to pay toward our roads or raise the gas tax, their tune starts to change.
Note that much of the things you propose will do little to bring additional buying power for our transportation dollars. In fact that audit, which is already done as a regular part of CTDOT’s budget, will cost millions to do and likely will result in little to no savings.
Also note that your proposal does nothing to solve the problem of stagnant or dropping revenue as drivers switch to more fuel efficient vehicles or alternative fuel vehicles which avoid the gas tax completely.
Patrick never stated he was for a higher gas tax. But since you bring it up. How about an electric car tax. Since everyone is worried about it flat with better car mileage. If we are moving to electric. Put a tax on them put a credit card swipper on those telsa charging stations in Greenwich. We pay for gas. Time for electric to pay the man too. Besides. Many many out os state drivers drive the GWB everyday. NY and NJ take there money everyday. Did any of us get a better less congested less pot holed bridge? Nope. Same bridge but tolls keep risising on it. Article in NJ.com 2 weeks ago they didn’t raise tolls on NJT or GSP. Why. Cause acutally more cars are using the road so they didn’t raise tolls. Again that one is for the congestion arguments.here are toll roads today that are as bad or worse than anything in CT that will prove tolls don’t make the road any better
1. Mass pike metro Boston
2. N.Y. thruway rockland/orange county
3. I66 Alexandria VA
4. Penn pike metro philly north
5. NJT/GSP North Jersey
6. I95 merto baltimore
Wrong. Two gasoline tax increases in the past twelve years, reference:https://ctmirror.org/2019/07/05/gasoline-taxes-are-on-the-rise-just-not-in-ct/. The state’s taxes on gasoline are the 7th highest in the country, reference The Yankee Institute, Marc Fitch, January 2014: “Connecticut drivers pay 43.8 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes — the7th highest in the country — according to the Tax Foundation and the American
Petroleum Institute. That figure includes Connecticut’s 25 cent per
gallon tax, plus an additional 18.8 cents in additional taxes such as
the petroleum gross receipts tax”. The 40% payment by out of state residents (who are paying federal gas taxes which flow back to the state for not having tolls) is, in my opinion, as believable as the statement “97% of climate scientists believe in global warming”. As for declining revenues to feed the STF, two solutions are apparent. One is to put an annual fee on electric cars to compensate. The second is to stop stealing the revenues from the STF for all kinds of corrupt reasons.
The last time the gas tax was raised was January 1, 1997 when it was set at 39 cents. It was subsequently lowered three times to its current rate of 25 cents. You are confusing the gas tax with the gross receipts tax which has been adjusted. Still the impact of those changes have been very minor and not added much to the Transportation Fund. Connecticut now has the ninth highest gas taxes in the nation as 26 states have raised their gas taxes to compensate for inflation, reduced gas usage and lower federal funding. Many of the states with higher gas taxes have tolls as well. Whether we like it or not, the current tax is rapidly becoming insufficient to pay for road maintenance let alone improvements. No amount of budget cutting or corruption claims will change or improve that.
Jay, You “must assume”? Really? For a trained professional engineer with over 30 years experience, when did you abandon the engineer’s logical, fact based, scientific approach to problem solving? Making assumptions is not smart. Your pro-toll position clouds your thinking.
Well please tell me what the alternative is? Let our highways and bridges further deteriorate? Continue with overly congested highways? Fixing and improving them is not free you know. It is simple logic. 20+ years of inflation has significantly reduced the buying power of our transportation dollar. That cannot be sustained whether you or this group likes it or not. Simple logic even for a non engineer.
“Well please tell me what the alternative is”
You’ve been told that. Why ask again? Alternatives are listed in Patrick’s essay above. I referred you to my Rep-Am Op-Ed with alternatives. You refuse to acknowledge answers to your questions yet refuse to answer questions asked of you.
EG: Why would you make an assumption and abandon your engineer’s logical, fact based, scientific approach to problem solving? Why haven’t you not answered this: “Why is doing something because others do it a good reason to do anything?” You were asked that more than once.
You didn’t answer this question: “Where and when was it publicly said or written that Ct’s extensive toll proposal is “a model for future programs”? Did Lamont, Arisimowicz, Lemar, Looney, Leone, other pro-tolls pols say that?
Electronic driving TAXES (a.k.a. “tolls”) are a bad idea for numerous reasons. Just one is they are an extremely inefficient taxing system due to their huge initial and on-going overhead expenses. If a new revenue source is truly needed, and that’s very debatable, using an existing tax system or creating a new one with with little to no overhead expenses is smarter. Two examples are the Passport to Parks tax on vehicle registrations and the Healthy Homes Fund tax on homeowner’s insurance policies. Both have little to no overhead expenses. One even pushed the collection expenses onto private insurance companies. Here’s an eye opener about toll system expenses – see section 2 (c) and (d) of HB 7202 https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/TOB/h/pdf/2019HB-07202-R02-HB.PDF
Look folks, our roads and bridges need to be fixed and congestion eased. We are going to pay for this one way or another whether in dollars or lost time with long commutes. Out of staters, especially large trucks, tear up our roads more than in state traffic. I don’t know of any way to extract money from those drivers other than tolls. Do you, Pat, and the others who are so adamantly against tolls? I’ll take paying a couple of dollars in tolls and getting lots of money from out of staters to fix our roads rather than idly sitting by while other states are collecting from me when I use their roads. Does leaving all that money on the table make us smart? I don’t think so.
With all due respect , I disagree. The problems is not as narrow as road maintenance issues. If the issue is out of state truckers tearing up the road, then why wasn’t Lamont’s promise kept to only assess the trucks? Why not limit the proposals to an entry and exit toll? My objection is that any new tax initiative is the opening of the door. The tolls would never come down, they would only increase and then spread to additional tollgates. Soon, the entire length of CT highways would be tolled akin to the Mass pike. Consider our income tax will never go away or go down. Make no mistake, our politician’s hunger for money will not be satisfied by instituting tolls and that’s the underlying objection. If the state had a handle on employment and pension costs and was still out of money, then I might be swayed differently. But until there are limits on state spending, and other $$ gaffes remain out of control, I vote no for tolls.
“Long commutes”? Ms. Berritt, You have yet to respond to the question asked of you in response to your prior Viewpoint comment – How many of the proposed driving TAX gantries will you go under on your daily commute to and from work?
Please provide evidence that an out of state truck “tears up our roads more than an in state” truck? Are out of state trucks using metal spiked tires while in state ones do not? Do out of state trucks have fewer wheels and tires than in state trucks? Do out of state trucks weigh more than in state trucks? Please explain this with factual evidence so we can learn from you.
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