Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano talks with the media Monday about tolls Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R- North Haven, called an impromptu press conference Monday to demand Democratic leaders in the senate and the governor’s office show their hand about whether they have the votes to pass a transportation bill that includes tolls on trucks.

“They need to stop pretending they can pull a deal off because they can’t,” Fasano said. “Its been talked about forever and we are no step closer to resolving this issue to the detriment of businesses and the state of Connecticut. … They had their shot. They tried the best they could. They can’t get there.”

Gov. Ned Lamont’s push to get the General Assembly’s approval for tolls began last January, but has failed to be called for a vote since then. When the legislative session ended last spring, the administration aimed to generate support over the summer and bring it across the finish line during the fall, after municipal elections. That goal has been pushed back month after month, and the administration is now aiming for a vote before the legislative session begins Feb. 5.

But that window is closing. No vote is scheduled this week and legislators have not been told to reserve a date to come in for a vote.

Fasano says that’s because the votes are not there.

“You are running out of time,” said Fasano. “We all know the truth: these guys are never going to do tolls in regular session.”

Last week, Senate Democrats met privately to discuss whether they had enough votes to approve tolls. Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said at the time that members of his caucus had a significant list of questions and conditions that must be addressed before he can assure the 18 votes necessary for passage in the Senate.

“We have a contingent consensus of 18 members who have not rejected the concept of a bill to toll trucks on bridges only,” Looney said.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats said nothing has changed.

“When Senator Looney said the Senate Democratic caucus had a contingent consensus of 18 votes on a transportation plan with tolling only on large trucks with four axels or more, he meant it. We would appreciate if Senator Fasano would stick to leading his 14 member caucus,” said Kevin Coughlin.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano talks with the media Monday about tolls Jacqueline Rabe Thomas / CT Mirror

Lamont told reporters following an unrelated press conference in Derby that he believes those issues have been taken care of.

“We’ve taken care of those issues,” he said. “What I really want is the legislature to vote. And If its not this week, I really hope it’s next week. This is an issue that has festered for many, many years. It’s time for us to fix our transportation system. … We have given the legislature a draft of the bill that meets all of our requirements. They’vge agreed to the basic parameters of it. Now it’s up to them to finalize the final drafting of that and get it to their members as soon as possible.”

Lamont said his staff is working with legislative leaders to get a vote scheduled.

Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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4 Comments

  1. Lamont is obsessed with putting tolls on the highways without really thinking of the 80% of the state population that it will affect once the “trucks only” version is shot down by the Courts. With tolls being his solution it is either the state has run out of things to tax, or that this is a temporary solution in lieu a list of new taxes that he will propose when the next budget deficit “crisis” occurs later this year… Lamont is nothing but another version of Malloy. No talk of reducing or changing the makeup of our over spending, just obsessed with producing more revenue.

  2. Sen. Fasano knows the reason for the delay is a classic quid pro quo for special interests and they just have not done a deal yet. That is the real reason it happens “behind closed doors” just like labor contracts etc – the “negotiation” happens without proper taxpayer representation.

    Senate Democrat’s representing urban districts want 1) increased bus subsidies, 2) new bus routes, and 3) guarantees from the state to hire more people from their communities (regardless of merit or skills). Union interests want guarantees on construction bidding to union only shops where bidding is easily obfuscated and negotiated with the same Democrats. This is how Connecticut REALLY works; POLITICIANS SELLING THEIR VOTES. Do they care about the majority of taxpayers who will end up paying more when cars are eventually added? Of course not, it’s a scam; the fix is in. Now let’s see if Gov. Lamont plays along – then we will know if we have a real leader or just another pollyanna who will ignore it and play along.

  3. This message is for everyone living in CT. Hartford has proven year after year that all it knows how to do is spend. It is time to cut something…anything and not implement another tax on the people of CT.

    Tolls=Taxes Vote for Tolls & Lose At The Polls.

    DON’T BELIEVE THAT THIS WILL END WITH TRACKER TRAILERS…THIS IS A STEP TO TOLLING EVERYONE…GET THE GANTRIES UP 1ST AND THEN LATER THEY WILL ATTEMPT TO TOLL ALL!

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