A reduction in the Connecticut tax on gasoline is now emerging as a way to get Connecticut residents, and wavering state lawmakers, to go along with electronic highway tolls

Current (combined) state taxes on gasoline are about 44 cents per gallon, among the highest in the nation.

In an exclusive News 8 interview, Senate President Pro tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven), the highest-ranking state lawmaker, says he wants to see gasoline taxes cut to make the idea of electronic highway tolls more palatable to some lawmakers.

He added, “That would be another way to give a benefit to our own residents since they’re the ones that are buying the gas here, to reduce the gas tax, at least some amount because of the new revenue from tolls.”

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During last year’s legislative session, the idea of a 2 cent cut in the gas tax was floated. This week, the Republican leader in the House, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby), was calling the Democrats’ bet on this.

She said, “We know that they don’t mean that, but our point is if you mean that, you just don’t want to take money out of people’s pockets then put your money where your mouth is and say, ‘well, then we’ll do something about the gas tax.'”

Looney also said that the fact that voters approved the transportation “Lockbox Amendment” in November will also make tolls an easier sell.

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He added, “Now that we have adopted the ‘Lockbox’ that passed last fall, I think people will have a higher degree of confidence now that any money that comes in for transportation will be used for that purpose.”

Governor Lamont’s transportation policy committee recommended tolls for cars and trucks and maybe a gas tax hike. Both would be a hard sell. Lamont favors only tolls on out of state trucks, but has also
has said he would like to cut the gas tax.