Tolls, not more borrowing, is the transportation solution
Sometimes wishing for ‘the good ole days’ requires revisionist history, but I do remember when Connecticut was a state that reflected issues that we all face in a bipartisan fashion. Solutions were viewed with the aim of ensuring a quality of life for all of its citizens. Party lines were not the determinant of how our legislators voted. They were leaders!
The dire state of our infrastructure: roads, bridges, transportation is one arena that demands a bipartisan solution; in Gov. Ned Lamont’s words, to solve this crisis we need to put our state on a “debt diet,” giving us income opportunity. Tolls as suggested in the bill before our legislature is an opportunity to gain revenue and not increase expense. The protection of the newly created transportation lock box will ensure that the money raised will be directed appropriately. The opposition seems to be trying to convince us that bonding, a borrowing tool, will ease the debt crisis. It does just the opposite. It creates an immediate cash flow by putting off the pay back.
A toll is a user fee just as our paying for a train, bus, or taxi is a user fee; this is for car and trucks using our roads. Out-of-state drivers will add $320 million (40 percent of the revenue gained) to our state coffers each year. Bonding, on the other hand, adds 20 years of debt to an already burdened budget. What will we have to give up to balance the budget to pay for the bonding?
Sandy Lefkowitz lives in Westport.
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