HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It came down to a ‘flip of a coin.’ That’s what caused this week’s anticipated vote on truck tolls to stall and bring the entire issue to a screeching halt.
The plan for tolls on large trucks at twelve bridges around the state was supposed to generate $170 million/year to finance Governor Ned Lamont’s plans to rebuild the state’s transportation infrastructure, but late Wednesday, the Governor pulled the plug on the plan saying the legislature was unable to vote.
Both the Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) and the Senate President Pro tem, Senator Martin Looney (D-New Haven) said again Thursday they both had enough votes to pass trucks only tolls, but there was no indication whatsoever that they ever intended to bring it up for a vote.
In addition to the threat of an extremely long debate promised by the Republicans, neither the leaders in the House nor Senate would agree on who would take up the bill first. Senate leaders wanted the House to go first.
“They were, for whatever reason, not wanting to go first, so we said ‘well let’s flip a coin to decide who goes first’ and they declined that option,” said Sen. Looney.
The Republican leader in the Senate, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) says the Governor’s fall back plan – to borrow $200 million more for transportation – is what Republicans suggested all along and could be the path to a compromise, adding, “I think what you want to do is let some time, maybe the weekend, go by and let people re-adjust.”
Rep Aresimowicz – who is strongly in favor of tolls – said today that he is ready to move forward with the fallback plan of borrowing more money for transportation, even though it could mean less borrowing for other projects, like schools.
“It’s not our best path forward but I’m prepared, as a tolls supporter, to move on from tolls.”– Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin)