April 11, 2019

Commuter costs aired under Lamont's toll proposal

Photo | Flickr via Florida Turnpike.
Photo | Flickr via Florida Turnpike.
Tolling gantries in Florida.
HBJ Photo | Matt Pilon
Gov. Ned Lamont says out-of-state drivers would generate 40 percent of tolling revenue.

If Connecticut enacts highway tolls, the 39-mile trip from New Haven to Hartford could cost in-state drivers $1.72 during peak hours and $1.36 during less busy periods, according to newly released estimates from the Department of Transportation.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont, as he continues his push to build political support for tolls, released a list of common Connecticut drives, and what they might cost under a bill he's working on with the co-chairs of the Transportation Committee, both Democrats.

Three tolling bills have already advanced out of that committee.

The governor's latest appeal comes with eight weeks remaining in this year's legislative session, which ends June 5.

Under Lamont's suggested per-mile pricing, the 41-mile trip from Stamford to New Haven was the most expensive on the list, costing $1.80 during peak hours and $1.40 during off-peak hours.

[Click here to view Lamont's full breakdown]

Those prices include a "frequent user" discount Lamont is proposing as a way to gain support from Connecticut drivers, who he has said are unfairly paying for road and bridge maintenance, while out-of-state drivers contribute nothing. Cars from out of state would generate 40 percent of tolling revenue, which his administration estimates will total $800 million.

The governor is also pledging to keep his proposal to no more than 50 toll gantries, spaced roughly every six to seven miles. Last year, DOT issued a plan that included 82 gantries.

Lamont's plan also calls for tolls on Interstates 84, 95, 81 and Route 15.

"We remain committed to passing a proposal that reflects the feedback and suggestions from members of the legislature, who – like us – know that the ratings agencies and businesses alike are watching our debate on this critical issue," Lamont said Wednesday.

Lamont campaigned last year on tolling tractor-trailers only, but pivoted in February, claiming that would not generate enough revenue for Connecticut, and backed a plan to toll both passenger vehicles and trucks.

If adopted this year, transportation officials have said the state could begin collecting toll receipts by 2023.

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