Gov. Lamont attempting to get Repubs, Dems in same room for transportation plan

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republicans in the Connecticut House said the Democrats’ plan to collect tolls from only trucks is a non-starter.

The state treasurer is blowing the whistle on Senate Republicans’ “no tolls” plan.

It comes as Governor Ned Lamont attempts to get everyone in the same room to cut a deal.

Everyone at the Capitol agrees that road, bridge and rail improvements are essential for the state to grow, they just can’t agree on how to get from here to there.

Now that there are three transportation plans on the table Governor Lamont’s chief of staff is attempting to get all legislative leaders into the same room.

“We’re all getting to the table,” Lamont said. “We have several solutions. I think there’s an opportunity, perhaps, to put it together in a deal that works.”

The governor said the latest plan from the House Democratic leadership to collect tolls only from trucks and only on 12 interstate highway bridges does meet one of his criteria adding, “It is a way for us to get additional investments in transportation. It is a reliable and predictable revenue stream. It is predominately paid for by out of staters.”

But House Republican Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) said there will be no Republican votes for a plan with tolls of any kind.

That it’s a non-starter for negotiations, saying, “What we support is ‘no tolls.’ We support getting money from existing revenue that we have in the state of Connecticut and so the House Democrats’ plan, I don’t know if I’d even use the word plan.”

The Democratic leader in the State Senate, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) notes that the state treasurer is now blowing the whistle on Senate Republican leader Len Fasano’s plan, warning that using a large portion of the state’s Rainy Day Fund is not a good idea so that would have to be toned way down.

“I think there is a path but there would have to be additional funds I think to be targeted to create the revenue stream needed to support the plan,” Looney said.

He continues to push for some combination of legalized marijuana taxes and revenue from legalized sports gambling as part of the transportation funding mix.

The state treasurer is warning that using a large chunk of the Rainy Day Fund could jeopardize and upcoming general obligation and transportation bond sale.

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