Facing anti toll push back Lamont goes on defense

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The public push back on tolls is bubbling up in towns around the state, so Governor Ned Lamont is pushing much harder to push his toll message home.

He said, “This is something I want each and every one of you on board with. I want this fully deliberated in the legislature. I want us to go forward, arm in arm, knowing how important this is and how we have to pay for this in an honest way.”

The Governor was joined by the top Democrats on the Transportation Committee and said highway tolls were the only way to address the state’s crumbling infrastructure and stimulate the economy.

His office released examples of a potential tolling plan showing a driver from New Haven to Hartford paying $1.72 during peak driving hours, $1.36 off peak.  A trip from Milford to New Haven showed 44 cents peak, 35 cents off peak. Danbury to Waterbury was $1.28 during peak driving times and $1.02 off peak. Out-of-state drivers with out-of-state electronic transponders would pay about double those rates and truckers would pay three to four times more.

Related Content: GOP lawmakers to host forum on tolls in Wallingford

Lamont also said, “We’ve said very clearly that there will not be more than 50 gantries.” 

Lamont added that toll opponents had been inflating that number and that he will only accept a final plan that imposes tolls on 95, 91, 84 and the parkway. But the rates are not set in stone and would likely change.

The Republican leader in the Senate, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven), characterized the Governor’s message on Wednesday one way and said, “‘Give us the authority and then we’ll tell you how much and there isn’t a darn thing you can do about it.’ That is simply outrageous.”

The Republicans said their plan to prioritize state borrowing on transportation plans without tolls can work and is the safer alternative to tolls. Governor Lamont said it would use up all the state’s borrowing capacity, leaving nothing left for schools and other projects.

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