Democrats Consider Votes on Tolls, Transportation Plan

Republicans have said they are against tolls in any format.

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Democrats in the House and Senate met in caucus Tuesday to discuss the topic of tolls and evaluate where they currently stand with votes on a transportation plan.

The issue remains a polarizing one, with Republicans saying they are against tolls in any format.

Upon exiting their meeting, House Democrats said they discussed a scaled back toll plan that would involve 12 bridges and would only toll large trucks, specifically 18 wheelers. Their plan would exclude busses and box trucks.

Republicans however, question Tuesday’s caucus and the viability of a plan they say is consistently changing.

“I’m not exactly sure what today was all about,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano. “They don’t have a bill. They don’t have a plan. They’re saying it’s changing as we talk. The revenue is going down. What is going on?”

Following their meeting this morning, Democrat House leaders said they were in a good position as they awaited the conclusion of the Senate’s caucus.

“We feel comfortable as soon as the Senate comes out this afternoon. They have the votes, they pass it in the senate we will be ready to act and send it to the Governor’s desk,” said Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, the speaker of the house.

Republicans remain skeptical.

“Look if they had the votes, they’d vote,” said Fasano.  “It’s really simple. If you have the votes, you vote. You don’t have the votes and wait. You vote.”

To pass tolls Democrats would need at least 76 votes in the state House of Representatives and 18 in the Senate.

After nearly six hours behind closed doors, discussing a wide range of topics including tolls, the Democrat Senate leaders emerged with their conclusion.

“We have a contingent consensus of 18 members who have not rejected the concept of a bill to toll trucks on bridges only,” said Sen. Martin Looney, the president pro tempore.

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