These prices were from January 2019.

In the Connecticut highway tolls controversy, I have not seen any evidence of offers to horse trade or compromise with the governor over the issue — only views blindly for or against.  Opportunities are being missed.  Someone should leverage this to get it in statutory or Constitutional law that 100% of the per gallon tax and 50-75% of the gross receipts tax be set aside for transportation funding without future diversions or removing the onerous gross receipts tax from gasoline entirely in return for approving a tolls plan.

Gas and oil distributors have the state figured out.. They raise gasoline prices when they have to and state coffers receive a temporary windfall.  When they don’t, they raise un-taxed heating oil prices instead, usually without complaint from state officials.

Diversions from the Connecticut Rainy Day fund are a poor decision and some tax relief is due state taxpayers.

Let everyone pay per-axle tolls on our highways, require commercial trucks to have electronic trackers visible to state police and Department of Transportation toll collectors.  These trucks should not be on secondary roads unless supported by their delivery schedules or manifests which by law are already inspectable.

Locals could avoid highways if they do not support tolls, work commuters could be exempted from tolls by registering their daily highway route with DOT, or any number of mitigation techniques.

Legislators have much to do.

Alan P. Tracy lives in Groton.

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5 Comments

  1. Historically it does not matter what we write into our State Constitution (as evidenced by ignoring our Constitutional Spending Cap for 25 years). Words are not action and politicians (and their lawyers) find loopholes in everything. For example in the example above they “did not define clearly enough what state spending is” so the Democrat majority just ignored the amendment – for 25 YEARS! In 2017 Gov. Malloy had a commission debate the subject for over a year and in the end they still could not agree!!!

    1. Why I suggested it must be taken out of the hands of Legislators and the Gov. Real Lock Box with dedicated revenue and no costs other that roads and bridges and then, can only change by voter referendum!! Eliminate the Gross Receipts Tax, Dedicate the Gas Tax and charge out of state drivers a higher rate than CT Residents! That will work!

  2. Were it not for the privacy issues, mileage-based user fees (MBUF) based on the vehicle size/weight is the fairest way to provide the funding.

    Of course, this will never prove to be acceptable unless ALL other transportation related taxes are rescinded AND the privacy issues are resolved.

  3. You are correct when you say the Gross Receipts Tax should be removed in favor of Tolls, BUT and this is huge – not before you have REAL LOCK BOX – a lock box that can only be change by voter referendum, not by the Gov or Legislators or every single time they need money after shifting funds around for pet projects they will vote to do so. Only We the People who pay these taxes when it comes to transportation should be able to move funds out of the STF Fund or Costs into it. Also, CT residents should pay a lower rate for tolls than out of State drivers who have paid ZERO forever!! Then and only then should tolls on cars be put in place. Anything else is a SHAME – that we have seen before!

  4. I think the absence of compromise by the no tolls people is less about tolls and more about absence of fiscal discipline by our elected State officials or perhaps lack of trust if you prefer. This shows up in 3 categories.
    CT has a spending problem and not a revenue problem and the addition of any new tax/toll continues to give a pass on the over-spending disease that must be addressed.
    A few tolls under a modest plan is the camel’s nose under the tent. The whole tent is coming down in the near future. Once we have any tolls, the legislation to increase the scope will come much more easily as it will be done in small increments, just as our income tax rate has over a few decades.
    Our elected officials have perpetually demonstrated, dedicated funds imposed by legislation or bond covenants are not enough to prevent re-assignment of those funds to the General Fund in a budget crunch. Perhaps a Constitutional mandate would force the needed discipline, but that’s not in any cards I’ve seen.

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