House Democrats Tell Lamont Tolling Cars is Off the Table

House Democratic leaders on Tuesday said tolling cars as part of the state's transportation plan is off the table.

Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) and House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford) are now asking Gov. Ned Lamont to consider truck-only tolls as part of his CT2030 transportation plan.

“We appreciate Governor Lamont’s continued commitment to fixing Connecticut’s transportation system,” said Speaker Aresimowicz in a news release. “Our caucus feels strongly that we must make investments in our roads, bridges and trains to grow our economy, but that tolling cars is not the way forward.”

Lamont campaigned on a trucks-only toll proposal, but added cars to the plan as governor.

He made adjustments to that plan earlier this month, which limited tolls to 14 bridges around the state, but still proposed tolls for cars and trucks.

The proposal by the House Democratic leadership cuts the tolls to just 12 bridges, eliminating tolls on Route 9 and the Wilbur Cross and Merritt Parkways.

“Trucks do 80-percent of the damage to our roads and bridges and many come from out of state,” Ritter said. “We believe that truck-only tolls on select bridges, in a manner similar to what other states do, are legal and will provide Connecticut with the revenue stream needed to secure low interest federal transportation loans.”

Gov. Lamont said in a statement that he is appreciative of the House Democrats' ideas.

“I am appreciative of House Democrats’ thoughtful contribution to the discussion about Connecticut’s economic future and the critical need for investment in our transportation system.

A guiding principle of CT2030 is a dedicated revenue stream, which in large part comes from out-of-state drivers. This proposal adheres to that basic principle, albeit to a lesser extent, but is a concept that the governor has explored in the past and one that should be considered among the other plans," Gov. Lamont said.

He said he would like legislative Democrats and Republicans to meet with him about the several proposals now on the table.

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said the truck-only proposal might have seen more public and legislative support if cars had not been added to the plan.

“But there is a decided lack of trust as a result of the Democrats going back on their word and Connecticut residents and motorists have good reason not to support any tolling plan," Klarides said in a statement.

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