Both Democrats vying for the party’s nomination for governor criticized the study approved Wednesday by the State Bond Commission.
However, neither vowed to reverse course on the $10 million study.
Ned Lamont, the endorsed Democrat who is making his third attempt at statewide office, said he was against the study, but said the issue of tolls in limited cases needs to be discussed.
He endorsed a program similar to Rhode Island’s that only charges tractor trailers for traveling on the state’s highways.
"I think we should focus on the big out of state tractor-trailer trucks that are coming through this state,” Lamont said during the debate organized by Sacred Heart University in partnership with Hearst Connecticut Media. “They're the ones that are destroying our roads. They are the ones that create about 95 percent of the maintenance problems there."
Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim said, "I've been in and out of government a long time and I've never spent $10 million on a study.”
Ganim, who is making his second attempt at governor and spent seven years in federal prison, criticizes Lamont’s idea for exclusively tolling trucks, adding that the program in Rhode Island is currently being challenged in court on grounds that the tolls are discriminatory toward truck drivers.
Ganim proposed tolling out-of-state drivers who pass through Connecticut without spending any money in the state, even though that could face similar legal scrutiny.
"How do we get the money out of the out of state residents, truckers included whether it's from New Jersey or New York or Massachusetts or Rhode Island when we're paying to go through there? With that approach,I think we look at tolls."