HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut trucking industry is firing another shot at Governor Lamont’s ‘trucks only tolls’ proposal. They note that at least two of the bridge projects that are included for tolling are already underway and have already been paid for.
A project just south of downtown Hartford is being cited by the trucking industry as an example of how the Governor’s ‘trucks only tolls’ proposal is really just a money grab.
The project is set to address a perpetual highway bottleneck of traffic exiting I-91 north to the ‘Charter Oak’ bridge over the Connecticut River connecting to I-84 east. It’s a project that is approved, well underway, and already paid for through the selling of state transportation bonds.
Connecticut Motor Transport Association President Joe Sculley saying of the toll proposals for the state, “They want the toll revenue, I believe, because those are high traffic areas. They can take toll money from a lot of vehicles and send the toll revenue to other purposes.”
The truck industry cites the ‘Charter Oak’ bridge ramp plus the repairs to the ‘Mixmaster’ in Waterbury (also an on-going, previously-approved and funded project).
Sculley goes on to say that he finds the Governor’s proposal immoral.
“It may not be illegal to do that, but I certainly believe it’s immoral. We’re talking about ‘user fees’ implying that a charge to use something is put back into what your’re using.”– Connecticut Motor Transport Association President Joe Sculley
The Governor is now often followed at public events by anti-tolls demonstrators who peacefully make their point with mostly handmade signs.
Demonstrators were at it again Monday, but Lamont was unwilling to address the specifics of the trucking industry’s latest complaint, instead pointing out the damage trucks do to Connecticut roads.
“Nobody uses our roads more frequently than the truckers. They do extraordinary damage to our roads and they’re going to contribute a little bit more.”– Governor Ned Lamont
The top leader in the State Senate, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven), says this latest argument from the truckers is not going to sink the plan.
“What the trucking industry is trying to do is to deny Connecticut the revenue from truck tolls that those same trucking companies are paying in every other state.”– State Senator Martin Looney (D-New Haven)
As we have reported; Sen. Looney said more than a month ago that the plan was to address transportation and the tolls issue in a Special Legislative Session in mid-January after the holidays. That still appears to be the plan.