(WTNH)–Governor Ned Lamont met with the Governors of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Tuesday and got some pointers on trying to get electronic highway tolls approved by the legislature. It was just one topic in their working lunch on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State University that afternoon.
Republican Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Democrat Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, two Governors Lamont has admired, met with him at the Eastern campus for a nearly two hour working lunch.
It was Governor Lamont’s idea to share ideas in a closed door meeting about regional approaches to purchasing, data sharing, energy and transportation.
Raimondo saying, “I encourage the Governor to continue his push.”
It was the Rhode Island Governor’s push for electronic highway tolls on trucks that Lamont advocated before he switched to trying to get electronic tolling on all vehicles because, he said, trucks alone wouldn’t raise enough money.
Raimondo adding, “It was controversial, as I explained to Ned, it took me two legislative sessions. The first time it was not successful. It was controversial, I went back again the second year and it happened.”
Even the Republican Governor of Massachusetts, who oversaw the transition to cashless electronic gantries on the Mass Pike, agreed that changing public perceptions is what it’s all about.
Baker saying, “Twenty-first technology that for many people gets lost in the conversation about tolls because people think about tolls as a ‘toll booth’ which is not the way most people play this game anymore.”
Governor Lamont added, “One thing that Charlie and Gina reminded me is; the battle is never over. Maybe sometimes in the first round it doesn’t go the way you want it. But you keep coming back and people evolve and they learn more on an issue and pretty soon it passes and you turn the page and move forward.”
Governor Lamont was tight lipped on reports that he is offering to go off his ‘debt diet’ in exchange for getting lawmakers to consider some compromise of limited tolling and borrowing. Discussions on that appear to be continuing at the Capitol.
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