The five-letter word that hasn't reared its head in Connecticut in decades could be making a comeback: tolls.
The state's neighbors to the north and southwest have made billions off of tolls, and Connecticut could become the next state to start charging drivers to use state roads.
“Border tolls would raise a substantial amount of money for this state," said Tony Guerrera, who chairs the Transportation Committee.
Guerrera said he wants to see the state monetize out-of-state drivers who enter and exit the state. In light of the state's need for vast public transit improvements and the governor's call for a transportation overhaul, Guerrera said tolls are the logical next step to explore.
“Our gas tax isn’t going to cut it anymore," he said.
Guerrera added that any approved toll plan must include either a reduction in the state's 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax.
"The two go hand in hand," he said.
But members of the General Assembly who live along the borders allege any plan that targets those regions doesn't make sense to them.
"It's a Band-Aid," said Rep. David Alexander, who represents Enfield.
Guerrera said he estimated that tolls could range in cost for drivers from $3 to $7.
Alexander contends that his constituents would be unfairly targeted.
“It’s not fair to ask my residents who travel three or four miles who go out to eat on a Friday night in the Springfield area to pay a toll when someone in Rocky Hill could go seven or eight miles and not pay a toll," Alexander explained.
Nothing has been approved by committees or the General Assembly, but Guerrera said he expected to see a public hearing on the proposal in the near future.
"We'll have a better idea of costs and what everything may look like once we hear from the experts," he said.