HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republican leaders in Hartford have put out their version of a state transportation plan on Thursday. Governor Ned Lamont has been rolling out his own plan as well. The main difference between the two plans is the Republicans do not include tolls in theirs.
Governor Lamont keeps saying the only way to pay for improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure is with some version of highway tolls. Republicans hope to prove him wrong today.
The governor met with senators from his own party, and even they are not totally on board with Lamont’s plan. Word got out that they were meeting and what they were talking about, which that brought anti-toll protestors to the capitol building. With them holding signs and doing interviews out in the hallway, Lamont spent two hours pitching this idea to Democrats who are still on the fence.
They walked out of the closed-door meeting saying there was still no agreement on the funding source. While the protests went on, Lamont said he knows it is a difficult decision for Democrats.
“I said I’m sorry I’m asking you to cast a tough vote. You’ve inherited a mess. This goes back 30 or 40 years, you’ve got a ‘Special Transportation Fund’ that goes under water in 5 years,” Gov. Lamont.
“We oppose the tolls. It’s a new tax on the residents here in Connecticut and we feel that the taxpayers have paid their fair share here in Connecticut,” Patrick Sasser of No Tolls CT.
A sentiment that will be echoed by Senate Republicans on Thursday. In the past couple weeks, the top Republican, Len Fasano, indicated their plan would cover everything the state needs in terms of transportation infrastructure, but not necessarily everything everybody wants, and that’s how they get around relying on tolls for revenue.
Lamont’s plan is heavy with improvements to Metro-North designed to appeal to Republicans in wealthy Fairfield County districts.
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