The governor presented details of his trucks-only tolls plan to legislative leaders Friday.

House and Senate Democratic leaders said they hope to finalize a tractor trailer tolls bill at a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont, then schedule a public hearing for next week on Lamont’s 10-year, $19 billion infrastructure plan.

The leaders originally said they planned to make the legislation public Tuesday, but they expect some revisions after the meeting, meaning the bill’s public release is unlikely before Wednesday.

“We have a meeting this afternoon to hammer out the details,” Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, said Tuesday morning.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said in a separate interview he is unaware of major sticking points on draft language that has been negotiated by the co-chairs of the Transportation Committee, reflecting the concerns of their caucus members.

“It’s been going through the chairs.This is our first time getting together,” Aresimowicz said. “I think it’s just a matter of us getting in the room as leaders.”

Aresimowicz said he expected a draft to become public Wednesday. Looney hedged on a date for a vote, saying it would be depend on the availability of lawmakers at a time of year when they are not normally in session.

“I think both chambers have to do a careful head count,” Looney said.

The leaders have committed to a five-day public notice before a hearing on the much-revised plan to use some form of tolls as a major element of financing CT2030, the governor’s plan to restore highways and bridges to a state of good repair and improve commuter rail.

Max Reiss, the governor’s communications director, said there is a consensus on truck tolls in both chambers, but few details remaining.

“We look forward to getting over the goal line,” he said.

One of the concerns raised by some rank-and-file Democrats is legislative language barring the Department of Transportation from subjecting passenger cars to tolls, as Lamont first proposed in February as part of a broader tolling scheme. Some Democrats want language that makes clear to voters that car tolls would not be permitted.

The revised version would charge tolls only on tractor trailers at a dozen highway bridges in Connecticut.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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9 Comments

  1. I just wish Republican reps would not show up at all. Show the voters that only one party wants this new tax. Make it a national news story. Wisconsin dems did it. Oregon repubs did it. But we know they won’t. Just will try grandstand and look like the inept party they are. Besides in November most likely most voters will just reelect these folks again.

    1. Agree – but they really dont have much of a choice. As the minority, they have to show up…to try to strengthen the party. But to your point… a futile case.

      As your avatar states – Help Us in CT!! Please – someone!!

      1. The regular sessions begin Feb 5th they only have to de!ay this by a couple of days. We are getting tolls no matter what. Just make it come into the regular session

  2. Mark – can you do us a favor and if you are in a position to ask – can you find out what the plan is when / if the case in Rhode Island is deemed unconstitutional to just toll trucks in the state? If we have gantry’s set up, are they just going to say “Well we already have tolls so might as well toll everyone since we cannot just toll trucks” I think its a valid question – but would like someone to ask if you are even in that position.

    1. It’s an excellent question to pin Lamont down on. Despite the importance of the possibility that R.I. will lose, when he was asked that question a short while ago he just blathered on saying he’s optimistic R.I. will win the case. He had no real answer, just that dodge. They didn’t win their appeal and lost with a unanimous ruling against them by the three judge panel. There’s the another related question – how many taxpayer $$ will be wasted defending the inevitable Ct truckers’ suit if Lamont’s truck-only toll fantasy is passed.

    2. Senior Democrat’s (the usual suspects) said there will be no car tolling at least in their legislation but therein lies the problem – it can be easily changed by a majority later …. and no one believes anything this group says anyway – with good reason. The same bunch (Looney, Duff, Ritter, Arez etc) are also not willing to wait for RI because they believe CT lawsuit would be different anyway. Most attorneys think that the RI decision would set a precedence and that is all that is really needed to kill truck only tolls. Tolls are not necessary to reallocate budget money towards infrastructure but Democrats are unwilling to do it – they need more revenue not less (same old story).

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