The group studying how to fund a 30-year transportation improvement program in Connecticut knows there are few options – if any – that won’t spark controversy. But the state’s Transportation Finance Panel watched that challenge expand significantly after its research became the focal point of an intensifying partisan battle among state legislative leaders.
The Connecticut legislature is considering a bill (HB 6818) that would order the transportation commissioner to establish a toll-collection system on the state’s major highways at its borders. The bill would also set up “safeguards to ensure that any toll revenue is deposited in the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and used only for transportation purposes.” Witnesses — many from the state’s border communities — submitted testimony in opposition to the idea. A few were in favor. Here is an excerpted sampling of both. The full list of witnesses and their written testimony can be found here.
Adding 1 percentage point to the sales tax, imposing tolls or even selling some of Connecticut’s transportation assets were among the “potential” options Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration outlined Tuesday to pay for a major transportation overhaul over the coming decades.
The legislature’s Transportation Committee kept the prospect of restoring tolls to Connecticut’s highways alive on Wednesday, but the issue remains far from settled.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will propose amending the state Constitution to ensure revenues earmarked for transportation cannot be diverted for other purposes, the governor’s office announced Friday.
Though Gov. Dannel P. Malloy would consider restoring tolls if Connecticut creates a legal “lockbox” to ensure receipts are spent on transportation, other states’ have struggled to keep their “boxes” locked. And because Connecticut’s transportation program relies on many sources for funding, guarantees to protect toll receipts might mean little if other sources are diverted.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy tried to give himself more flexibility Monday to re-establish tolls, warning he would force a Capitol debate in 2015 on the costs necessary to upgrade the state’s long-neglected transportation network. And while the governor insisted on the campaign trail last fall that two conditions must be met for tolls to be considered, he abandoned one – a precipitous drop in federal transportation funding – on Monday.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy faces plenty of critics who argue he can’t balance the next state budget without breaking his campaign pledge not to raise taxes. But Malloy will be equally hard pressed to close next year’s $1.3 billion-to-$1.4 billion deficit with spending cuts, given the many pledges and fiscal principles he has espoused since taking office four years ago.
At first glance, Connecticut’s transportation system is in line for a big boost no matter who wins the race for governor. But as candidates tout their transportation platforms, they simultaneously espouse other fiscal positions that all but eliminate any hope of a major boost in transportation spending. The last of three parts.
NORTH HAVEN – While Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Greenwich businessman Tom Foley both vowed Monday to spend heavily on transportation, neither gubernatorial contender outlined any plans to pay for these investments.
Advocates for a better-funded state transportation system will get their chance next week to appeal to Connecticut’s gubernatorial candidates face-to-face in North Haven.
A coalition of nearly three dozen transportation advocates challenged Connecticut gubernatorial candidates to support increased funding to overhaul the state’s aging infrastructure – even if it likely means tax increases or tolls.