HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Calling it the “elephant in the room,” Governor Ned Lamont pleaded with state lawmakers in his State of the State address to call a vote on his “truck toll” plan. But almost immediately following the speech, top Democratic leaders telling News 8, the vote on the plan has been delayed again.
During his speech to the General Assembly, the governor saying, “Having the best workforce and the best workplaces doesn’t matter unless you can actually get to work.” The governor acknowledging during his speech that his tolls on large trucks plan, to pay for his signature transportation initiative, is still stalled adding, “I know it’s the elephant in the room…and you’re in the room where it happens and that means casting a vote, making up your mind and getting this going.”
But Democratic leaders admitted after the speech that a potential vote has been delayed again until at least the week of Feb. 18 after the President’s Day holiday. Senate President Pro tem, Sen. Martin Looney (D-New Haven) adding, “We both have the same goal, to get this done because there are many other issues that we want to deal with in ’20 and we want to get the transportation issue resolved.”
WEB EXTRA: Read the full prepared text of the Governor’s State of the State address
But Republicans, who are universally opposed to the plan, say with every delay it becomes clear that the Democrats don’t have the votes to pass it on their own. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) saying, “I heard some Bridgeport folks were moving away from the bill because a train station in Bridgeport was removed.” The governor said Monday he wasn’t interested in the second train station.
Fasano adding, “And I know the Waterbury delegation is not happy.” House Minority Leader Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) adding, “Every day that goes by there’s more and more fear by every legislator in this building that voting for tolls will hurt them in November.”
But the Speaker of the House, Rep. Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) insists he has the votes, that it is just a scheduling issue saying, “People work other jobs, they have obligations, they plan their work obligations around this. We have a flu, I don’t want to say epidemic, but we have many members out sick with the flu. It’s just a scheduling issue.”
WEB EXTRA: Watch Governor Lamont’s full State of the State Address
The reason the scheduling is so crucial on this issue is that it is expected to be a very close vote in both the House and the Senate plus a very long debate is expected and Democratic leaders still haven’t decided if the bill will start in the House or the Senate.