HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — State lawmakers were back in Hartford Wednesday addressing two leftover legislative issues, but the tolls issue – pushed off until the January 2020 session – greatly overshadowed everything.
Many voters went to the Capitol to tell the Governor and legislators how they feel about the current debate about ‘truck only tolls.’
Some of the ‘No Tolls Connecticut’ protesters presented a Christmas gift to Governor Lamont Wednesday. They say it was 500 ‘pink slips’ from voters around the state gathered at other ‘no tolls’ events.
Some anti-toll demonstrators have been at this for a year. But Wednesday, for the first time, there were people on the other side from the newly formed ‘Pro Tolls = Pro Connecticut.’
The group says the growing group is made up of commuters, business owners, professionals and retirees who feel the state transportation system is antiquated and unsafe. They favor tolls on all vehicles.
Michelle Abt of Stamford is part of ‘Pro Tolls=Pro Connecticut.’ She told News 8, “If the only opportunity to get any revenue from out of state vehicles is ‘pro tolls’ for trucks, then we’ll start there.”
Their strongest supporter, Democratic State Senator Alex Bergstein of Greenwich, says the ‘trucks only toll’ plan will not solve the problem. It needs to be all vehicles.
“Frankly, I’m disappointed by the leadership that has gotten us to this point and proposing what I consider to be an incomplete solution.”– State Senator Alex Bergstein (D-Greenwich)
But the ‘no tolls’ position is that, whether it’s tolls on everyone or just on trucks, it will cost more to live and work here at a time when some people are just getting by.
Jen Ezzell of Lisbon is part of ‘NoTollsCT’ and says, “A lot of people in the state, they’re going paycheck to paycheck and you want to take $5 a week more out of their check? You’re hurting them.”
One of the strongest ‘anti-tolls’ voice in the General Assembly is the House Minority Leader, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) who said “Whether it’s trucks only or cars or both; this is just another way to go into the pockets of the middle class in this state and it should not be tolerated.”
The Democratic leaders of the General Assembly have told the Governor they will hold another Special Session in January on tolls, but no specific date has been set.