Gov. Ned Lamont has released a letter to top lawmakers detailing the latest proposed transportation plan born out of ideas discussed during a bipartisan meeting held last week.
In the plan the governor proposes implementing commercial truck tolls at 12 bridges across the state. Democrats have argued that a trucks-only toll is in line with surrounding states and focuses the burden on tractor-trailers, which they say do the most damage to our roads.
The plan estimates the trucks-only tolls bringing in around $197 million in revenue each year. The average one way rate for a toll would be $8.
The overall plan proposes $19.4 billion investment in infrastructure, including projects like removing the traffic lights on Route 9 in Middletown, MetroNorth bridge improvements, and changes in bus services between Connecticut cities.
This is a scaled-down version of the governor’s original CT2030 plan, which was a 10-year, $21.3 billion plan that relied on revenue generated from bridge tolls for both trucks and passenger vehicles across the state. Top Democrats had rejected the idea of tolling all vehicles and pushed for the trucks-only tolls.
Republicans remain opposed to tolling any vehicles, and had proposed a no-tolls alternative that relies on complicated plan to financially stabilize the state's transportation fund by using $1.5 billion from Connecticut's budget reserves.
On Friday, Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano told the governor to call off his toll on trucks, pointing to a federal appeals court decision issued yesterday. That decision advanced a lawsuit from the trucking industry challenging Rhode Island's trucks-only tolls, calling them unconstitutionally discriminatory.
“Tolling trucks sets us up for failure and leads us down a path to car tolls. A lawsuit creates serious financial risk for taxpayers and the governor’s plan could leave Connecticut with little choice but to expand tolls to cars to avoid legal jeopardy. Yesterday’s federal appeals court decision affirmed the fact that there is a viable claim that tolling only trucks violates the U.S. constitution. Tolling trucks puts Connecticut taxpayers at risk of a lawsuit, damages, and money to be paid back to truckers," Fasano said in a statement.
When lawmakers left last week, Democrats and Republicans were still split on the subject of tolls, and also the Republican-backed idea to pull large amounts of funding from the state’s rainy day fund.