Toll protests were a common sight at the state Capitol last spring. Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Alex Bergstein is out of line and out of touch.  Her op-ed “Half price for infrastructure – or full price?” reeks with her contempt for the tens of thousands of regular folks who oppose her tolls plan.  Alex may see herself as a bold, visionary leader.  But for the average person, it’s clear she is a bully.

Who is she bullying?  You and me, anyone who holds a different view on tolls from hers.  It’s apparent from her tone she thinks we are rubes and we can’t have rational, informed opinions that differ from hers.  My question to Alex is, what is her plan on how to deal with the more than $100 billion unfunded state employee pension liabilities crisis Connecticut is facing?  We, the people, are aware that one-third of the state’s budget goes towards debt and interest on that massive obligation.  Is she?

Who else is she bullying?  Pat Sasser, who is one of her constituents.  Just a regular citizen with no political experience, working with a shoe-string budget funded by small donations from like-minded people, Pat is leading a populist movement to not only stop tolls but to demand accountability for all the tax dollars we already send to Hartford.   Alex has the audacity to claim Pat “has cost every resident of this state a fortune in wasted time, more traffic, and higher costs to repair our bridges, roads and rails.”  Really? Democrats in Hartford need a mirror.

Another characteristic of bullies is that they are incredibly thin-skinned.  While we who want no tolls exercise our natural First Amendment right to express our opposition, she claims to have been harassed, trolled, taunted, ridiculed, and yelled at.  She’s the victim.  Right.

On the day of the Transportation Committee’s Public Hearing on truck tolls, on Friday, Jan. 31, I and many other residents were there from the morning until 11 p.m., waiting our turn to testify.  Who was not there to listen to her constituents?  Alex.

Hilariously, she is also bullying her fellow Democrats.  She wants to shame Democrats into ramming tolls through.  After all, she says, they, Democrats, passed minimum wage and paid family medical leave without a single Republican vote.  Thank you to the Republicans for not supporting policies that shut down restaurants where young people work and that reduced working people’s take-home pay!

A question to Alex on leadership:  If you look behind you and nobody is following, are you a leader?  I think not.

Kimberly Fiorello lives in Greenwich.

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12 Comments

  1. Sen. Bernstein misguided viewpoint was purposely misleading because she left out key facts and historical context. Her viewpoint would be considered academically dishonest at her beloved Yale University, so maybe she needs to think about that. However, she convinced no one by blaming Republicans for Connecticut’s problems, especially on tolls, it just made her look foolish. Republicans have not had control of Connecticut for decades and you don’t need to go to Yale to know that, my preteen figured that one out, without guidance.

  2. Wait, you ask how we are going to pay $100 billion in unfounded pension debt, yet you are not questioning how we will pay the billions in debt the Republicans want to put us in to fund transportation? I can only assume you support raising the gas tax which will place virtually the full cost of the debt on Connecticut taxpayers rather than a plan which would get out of state drivers to pay as much as 40% of the bill. How does that make any fiscal sense?

    1. Jay – they currently steal the gas tax money to pay for the obligations they’ve incurred. If you’ve watched them in action over the years, our rulers have displayed themselves to have no credibility with us. Give them NO MORE TAX MONEY. Let them downsize the entire govt and fund it with what they have. All they do is tee up excuses like tolls to plunder us to support their very cushy existence. It’s over – make some decisions and fund it yourselves and get off our backs.

    2. You incorrectly assume there are only two options. This is faulty logic. There is the option of doing the hard work and balance the budget, and put the money already raised for transportation into transportation, not just send it to the general. When you don’t have the money for the necessities, you don’t spend on personal pork! There is more then enough money, CT chooses not to prioritize its spending, we just SPEND! Embrace the cuts!

    3. Jay, the answer to how are we going to pay the 100 billion in unfunded pensions for many of us is we won’t. Anyone with a state pension due should be lining up to renegotiate their contract before a judge decides what they will receive. Imagine owing $60,000 on a credit card and all you have to do not to pay is move across state borders. Programs need to be cut, government made smaller, and taxes lowered to stimulate this lagging CT economy.

    4. So then why not lower other taxes for us residents. They could have done that and made tolls revenue neutral for us citizens and then used the 40% from out of state drivers to fund transportation.

  3. The senator’s OP-ed was representative of the failure of Democrats to think in a substantive, rational manner so that debate can be based on numbers and facts and not generalized statements like “using Trumpian methods”. What are the infrastructure projects and what are their costs? How do our construction costs compare to other states? What has happened to the raised STF funds and why can they not be returned? Honestly. Please answer. Then let’s debate to find a solution.

  4. Kim is correct. Bergstein is out of touch and out of line. Cavorting in Iowa when hundreds of people in this state wait patiently to be heard about their fears and opposition to tolls. She is not correct; she cannot spend her money to get her view across. She cannot bully the people of this state into something that is inherently wrong. She cannot make up statistics that two very expensive studies done by the state show to be false. The 2018 study showed that 71% of the passenger vehicles on CT roads are from inside the state. The dictionary defines a “user fee” as a tax, so her semantics don’t work either. We are not stupid. She is not Bloomberg, as far as we know; she cannot dump 36 Million into this issue to get her way. She cannot buy her way into doing what she wants; although, that is exactly what she said shortly after taking office. Kim’s tone is appropriate for Bergstein, as Bergstein does speak so condescendingly towards the people of CT. Threats even! Seriously, she somehow threatened that if she does not get her way on tolls, the state will increase our income taxes….the state has increased and taxed everything as it is….and yet, the roads are still not taken care of….where is all that money going? Hmmmm….bond debt. Lots of it! And what has the Governor done? Increased the bond debt more. Tolls are not a solution. Tolls are an additional tax, and if implemented as Bergstein wants, an open checkbook that Hartford can use at will, without any vote of the people. A million people or more in this state are against tolls. It is time for the people of this state to actually take back the state.

    1. Hi MegfromCT, we welcome your comments but please note that our guidelines require that comments be limited to 1,000 characters. We will not be able to approve comments that exceed that limit going forward.

  5. The Democrat response to how to you expect to pay for the $100 billion unfunded pension liability? Everyone in the private sector should have defined benefit pension plans as well. If you ask a Democrat again to answer the question they did not initially answer they will accuse you of bullying or being a Trump troll. The Democrat party is made up of children demanding more candy for dinner and then throwing a temper tantrum when they get push back from the few grown ups in the room: Republicans. Ultimately I believe the children and their temper tantrums will get their candy for dinner and make the rest of the remaining residents of CT pay for their poor choices. I am already planning my exit strategy. This State is doomed by its poor fiscal management of the past 40 plus years of Democrat control. Someone else can turn the lights off after the bankruptcy process.

  6. I want it thank Pat and Hillary. These 2 really strong citizens took on the gov’t,union,and special interest and yesterday win a battle. Take 5 enjoy. Then unfortunately you will have to get back at it. The was is not over. I as an average citizen cannot thank you enough for your dedication and hard work.

  7. I personally would support limited tolls if I didn’t know for certainty that the money is planned for non-transportation funding. It’s so clearly a money grab by a political party that wants to fund the votes for their next election. Connecticut is failing and our highways were not the cause.

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