HARTFORD Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont has stopped his “trucks only” tolls plan.
During a news conference Tuesday, Lamont said the legislature was unable to vote on the plan so it is stopped for now.
“I’ve got a legislature that doesn’t want to make a choice when it deals with a problem that we’ve had confronting this state for going on well over a generation,” Lamont said. “That’s our deteriorating roads and bridges and rail.”
“Neither the Republicans or Democrats, especially in the Senate, are willing to make a choice right now. Obviously, the Republican plan which ended up being taking money from the ‘rainy day fund’…no bill, no plan to vote on it. Instead, they wanted to filibuster for 30 hours and waste all of our time.”
“We heard…the Senate Republicans saying that they’re going to debate this for 30 hours added to the ending of this, and I think that it’s pretty clear that the House and Senate Republicans are very capable and have done time after time many hours of debate on issues we feel passionate about and that should not have been a surprise to anybody,” said Themis Klarides Republican Minority Leader in the Connecticut House of Representatives. “You cannot put business on hold week after week in Connecticut now that regular session has started. We have to all band together and do the work the people elected us to do.”
Watch: Lamont announces halt on tolls pan
Lamont said Senate Democrats were worried they wouldn’t have time to get people together for those 30 hours and may have to wait another week.
“I think it’s time to take a pause,” he said. “If these guys [Republicans and Demorcats] aren’t willing to vote and step up, I’m going to solve this problem.”
Lamont said Republicans and Democrats both agree that $19 or $20 billion is needed to fix transportation issues, which he said will not come out of bonding.
“I hate to do it this way; it’s bonding in place of other things that are priorities but right now, there is no other option on the table.”
Lamont said he’s lost his patience with both sides and said they need to make up their minds.
“Don’t say I need another week…I’ve heard that for a year,” Lamont said, displeased. “I’ve lost patience. We’re going to fix our transportation plan and are ready to work with anybody who has a constructive alternative.”
But Republican Senator Len Fasano said it’s Lamont who kept changing his mind.
“He said just trucks, then he said cars and trucks, then he was back to trucks, then it was just big trucks,” Fasano said. “And people saw that for what it was. Get tolls, do the big trucks and then we’re going to start bringing it back and getting medium-sized, small trucks and cars.”
The decision came after the vote — that was scheduled for Thursday — was moved on Wednesday night. Lawmakers decided to move the vote to sometime next week.
Following the announcement, Senate Pro Tem President Martin Looney and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff released the following statement:
“In light of a potential unprecedented two-day, 30-hour-long debate, the Senate Democrats asked for five more days for our Senators to prepare and make necessary family arrangements.
We are still confident that Senate Democrats have the votes to pass a comprehensive transportation plan which includes 12 toll gantries on 18-wheeler trucks only. We are prepared to hold a session next week to vote on a bill to make the necessary transportation investments for Connecticut’s economic development, residents, and businesses.
We have worked with the House and the Governor’s office consistently over the past 10 months to finalize the transportation issue and have proposed numerous solutions over that time period. We remain committed to investing in Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure.”– State Senator Pro Tem President Martin Looney, Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff