A vote in the Connecticut House of Representatives on moving forward with electronic tolls could be coming as soon as next week.  The Speaker of the House has promised an up or down vote on the issue and a bill to authorize the D.O.T. to develop a plan for tolls has received a favorable committee vote.

With the possibility of a vote next week,  volunteers from the “Yankee Institute” conservative think tank were spreading cut-outs of  72 “Toll Trolls” on the front lawn of the State Capitol to make their point.  

“What this will do is put a tax on people driving to work.  A tax on people driving to work everyday,” said Yankee Institute President Mary Platt Liebau.

The group said they chose 72 because that’s the number of electronic toll gantries the D.O.T. would be placing on Connecticut roadways because a past report had suggested that number.

But the author of the bill says that is not the case, that the bill instructs D.O.T. to propose an unspecified number of gantries on 95, 91, 84 plus the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways and include a discount and income tax credit for Connecticut residents and submit the plan for a vote in the legislature next year. 

Democratic House co-chair of the Transportation Committee, Rep. Tony Guererra (D-Rocky Hill) adding,  “If the vote should happen, be ‘in favor’ next year, then once they’re implemented we have to reduce the ‘Gas Tax’ by 5 cents.

The trucking industry is pushing hard against moving forward in any way with tolls saying it will force the price of everything you buy up.  Joe Sculley of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut adding, “Tolls on top of what we already pay is going to make the cost of all consumer goods more expensive not to mention adding to the operating costs of our industry.”

The Republican Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee, Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden) says   “I don’t know of one Republican that will vote for it which means it will hang on whether there’ll be one Democrat who will recognize how ridiculous the idea of tolls are.”

Suzio is talking about a very close vote in the evenly divided State Senate but the House was evenly divided last year.  Head counters then said they were just one vote shy so the issue never came up.