HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The latest idea out of Hartford for highway tolls is the same idea we heard a lot last year. Democrats in the house now floating truck-only tolls.
Some, but only the ones driving big trucks, and if that idea sounds familiar, it’s exactly what Ned Lamont ran on as a candidate for governor.
The House Democratic Leadership announced on Tuesday afternoon that the idea of tolling passenger vehicles is now off the table. The Speaker of the House and the majority leader now saying they will only support tolls on trucks with electronic toll gantries only at twelve interstate bridges.
Trucks-only tolling is what candidate Ned Lamont ran on last year, but there were potential legal problems in tolling only trucks. Democratic leaders feel their new plan of tolling just those select bridges gets around those legal issues.
They also think it will make tolls a lot more palatable to the general public if they are only on trucks. They also think it should make a compromise with Republicans easier, too.
“So now we have the Governor’s original proposal and the work that he’s done. We have Senator Fasano‘s, the Speaker and I have put our alternative out there and I think we have, hopefully, the beginnings of a compromise we can vote and pass, shore up our transportation fund and make the investment we need to do in the state,” Rep. Matt Ritter, Majority Leader says.
A spokesman for the trucking industry disputes the claim that this latest plan is going to avoid legal problems. There is a similar trucks-only tolling system in Rhode Island that is still being appealed in the courts.
House Democrats say the tolls would bring in about $150 million in revenue. That presents another problem. The tolling proposals on every vehicle raised earlier this year were predicted to bring in hundreds of millions more than that, so there is still the issue of paying for all the road improvements the state needs.
Republicans came out with their own no-tolls transportation plan last week. Governor Lamont put out a statement saying he wants both caucuses to bring those proposal to a meeting in his office as soon as possible.
WEB EXTRA: Lamont speaks on latest toll plans, discussions
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