Governor Ned Lamont and top Democratic leaders were greeted by a small gauntlet of ‘No Tolls‘ demonstrators as they made their way to a second floor conference room for their first ‘tolls summit’ with Republican leaders on Wednesday.
Inside the closed door meeting the Governor and the DOT laid out a dire picture for state transportation funding, showing red ink as far as the eye can see for the Special Transportation Fund and the Governor tried to make a deal.
The Governor saying, “We can reduce the ‘Income Tax‘ for people earning up to about $125,000.”
The Governor says he realizes imposing tolls on working class people would be a financial hardship, the Governor adding, “We thought if I could reduce the ‘Income Tax’ to those folks, plus a credit on the ‘EasyPass’ for working families, we could make this affordable, make this doable and get us going.”
But Republicans say they were never shown the specifics of the plan even though it was released to reporters during the summit. Sen Len Fasano (R-North Haven) the Minority Leader saying, “We didn’t talk about any numbers, relative, t was suggested; ‘well would we change you mind if we gave a tax reduction?”
The DOT Commissioner, Joe Giulietti, also says the state is in danger of slipping below having 80 percent of the roads in ‘good repair’ and if that happens the feds will penalize the state. Giulietti adding, “Then if you can’t meet that end of the criteria they start penalizing you with a reduced amount
of money, they’ll give you and the percent that you’re going to get.”
Both sides say they agree to meet again. The Governor says next week, but even that seems to be in dispute. The Governor did admit there is “quite a divide” to overcome.
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