Eleven hours after lawmakers adjourned their regular session and Gov. Ned Lamont told them they had more work to do, he reiterated that during a news conference Thursday morning.
Lamont views the issue of infrastructure spending as critical to his first year as governor and intends to call lawmakers back for a Special Session at some point later in the summer.
"I can tell you that over the course of the next couple weeks we're going to be sitting down with the legislative leaders and finding a way that we get these things moving,” Lamont said, not committing to a date for the session.
Legislative leaders have already passed resolutions calling themselves back into Special Sessions on the issues of school construction, state bonding, and economic development.
Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D – Berlin) who failed to bring up a vote for tolls for the second year in a row, said the support is strong for tolls, but isn’t enough to make a difference in the overall debate.
"As far as the 76 votes for tolling, we have that,” Aresimowicz told reporters. “What we don't have is the 76 votes for a tolling plan that the Senate feels comfortable with that would eventually get the governor's signature."
Lamont campaigned on tolling trucks only, similar to how Rhode Island collects revenue for transportation. But just a few weeks into his administration he announced a reversal, wanting to see tolls paid by all cars who drive on some of Connecticut’s busiest highways.
Republicans have been quick to remind Lamont of the flip-flop, and they’ve proposed their own ideas which have been dead on arrival in the General Assembly.
They first proposed a borrowing program or tens of billions of Connecticut taxpayer dollars, with the intention of receiving matching funds from the federal government. They later scaled back that plan and offered a study proposal to see which bridges required the greatest need. Lamont has said neither plan is adequate.
At this point, Rep. Vincent Candelora, the Deputy Minority Leader in the House, is hoping the GOP is included in all of the conversations leading up to the Special Session, whenever it happens.
"The budget currently as it stands, the transportation fund is solvent and I think we need to continue to look at how we fund that transportation,” Rep. Candelora (R – North Branford) said. “Each party has their own ideas where we feel very strongly. We don't think we need tolls and we think that dialogue will continue."
Lamont says he’s had multiple lawmakers come up to him and express how difficult it would be for them to vote in the affirmative on tolls.
The governor says he has countered by arguing that a vote to invest in the state is the right thing to do, even if it includes tolls.
"At the end of the day, I'm not going to let people avoid a tough vote because it's the most important thing we can do to get this state moving."