A hearing will be held Friday on a proposal to add truck-only tolls in Connecticut and give the public a chance to weigh in on the proposal.
Lawmakers were set to vote on the plan Monday, two days before the beginning of the legislative session, but Sen. Derek Slap, the deputy majority leader, said the special session has been canceled. That means that there would be no vote before the beginning of the legislative session, which convenes on Feb. 5.
The latest draft of a transportation plan from top Democrats in the state continues to push for tolls to generate revenue to invest in transportation infrastructure.
The bill was similar to previous proposals from Democrats, including tolls on large commercial trucks in 12 different locations on six highways – Interstate 84, Interstate 91, Interstate 95, Interstate 395, Interstate 684 and Route 8.
The currently proposed base rate for vehicles with a transponder is $6 with a limit of $13. Those without a transponder on a tolled bridge could expect to pay 50 percent more than the base rate.
While the transportation commissioner would have the power to propose future rate changes, a Transportation Policy Council would be in charge of actually setting and changing rates.
The money made from tolls would be deposited into the Special Transportation Fund. Gov. Ned Lamont estimated that these tolls would bring in around $180 million.
The transportation plan is tied to a bonding plan, an agreement Gov. Ned Lamont said included $1.7 billion in bonding for the current fiscal year.
"I think we needed some discipline in terms of how much we are borrowing going forward, and we reached an agreement on that. We are going to solve that bond package very soon after we get the transportation bill passed," Lamont previously said.
Joseph Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of CT, said they remain opposed to tolls and argued that the trucks-only model is unconstitutional.
“This plan is part of a rush to get the toll gantries up before Rhode Island’s truck-only toll law is ruled unconstitutional. If the gantries are up before a federal court rules against Rhode Island, Connecticut will simply say they have no choice but to flip the switch and toll cars. The state is certainly not going to take the gantries down. It is unfortunate that the trucking industry is being made the subject of false statements in order to get this done," Sculley wrote in a statement to NBC Connecticut.
The latest bill does include provisions to keep the tolls restricted to large commercial trucks for at least the next several years, based on bond obligations.
Unions, including the Connecticut Building Trades Council, have expressed support for a toll plan, eager for the construction jobs such a plan might generate.
Republicans, who remain opposed to tolls, have proposed an alternative plan that excludes tolls and focuses on borrowing and pulling money from the rainy day fund to finance the transportation investments.
LOCATION OF TOLLS HEARING
LOCATIONS OF PROPOSED TOLLS
- Interstate 84 crossing the Housatonic River in the towns of Newtown and Southbury;
- Interstate 84 and Connecticut Route 8 in the city of Waterbury
- Interstate 84 overpassing Berkshire Road in the town of West Hartford
- Interstate 91 and Connecticut Route 15 at the Charter Oak Bridge and Dutch Point in the cities of Hartford and East Hartford
- Interstate 95 overpassing the Metro-North Railroad in the city of Stamford
- Interstate 95 overpassing Connecticut Route 33 in the town of Westport
- Interstate 95 overpassing the Metro-North Railroad in the city of West Haven
- Interstate 95 overpassing Connecticut Route 161 in the town of East Lyme
- Interstate 95 overpassing the Thames River in the cities of New London and Groton
- Interstate 395 overpassing the Moosup River in the town of Plainfield
- Interstate 684 overpassing the Byram River in the town of Greenwich
- Connecticut Route 8, south of the interchange with Interstate 84 in the city of Waterbury.