HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Lamont’s ‘trucks only tolls’ plan has divided lawmakers in the capitol. He was hoping the Democrats would support it coming back from holiday break, but they now say it will come only with certain conditions.
The latest plan is to impose tolls only on 18-wheelers. Box trucks and buses would be excluded. Legislative leaders say they have enough votes among Democrats to pass it, BUT there are apparently a lot of conditions lawmakers want before they will vote.
The leader in the State Senate, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) says he believes there are enough Democratic votes in the Senate to pass the latest ‘trucks only’ toll plan by the narrowest of margins. He says there are a potential 18 Democratic votes in the Senate if certain concerns are addressed. That would allow Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz to vote to break the tie in the 36 member Senate.
Senator Looney putting it this way, “We have a contingent consensus of 18 members who have not rejected the concept of a bill to toll trucks on bridges only.”
Looney says Senators want a guarantee that that there will be some kind of oversight board to oversee what projects D.O.T. is doing and explicit language that there is no support of any kind for tolling passengers cars because Democrats are certain Republicans will use any hint of that in the fall elections against Democrats.
They also want guarantees of expanded bus service in urban areas.
The Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) has now stated he is comfortable that he has enough votes to pass the ‘trucks only tolls’ plan but hinted there are similar conditions adding, “There’s some questions left to be answered; there’s the finality of the bill actually being written up and getting the bill in their hands so they can read it, but I still feel very comfortable that we can move forward.”
The Republican leader in the Senate, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) who has his own, no tolls plan, says he doesn’t believe the Democrats have the votes for tolls saying, “Look, if they had the votes, they’d vote it. We all know how this building works, it’s really simple; you have the votes you vote. You don’t have the votes and wait, you vote.”
The Governor is continuing his public outreach on this; he’s taking calls on a Hartford area radio talk show Thursday morning and appearing at a public forum at a school in Westport on Sunday afternoon.