Gubernatorial hopeful Ned Lamont says installing electronic tolls to be paid by large trucks traveling through Connecticut is part of the solution to Connecticut’s transportation problems.
Lamont made the comments during an event with running mate Susan Bysiewicz at the new Meriden train station, a stop along the Hartford Line.
“We’re going to have very limited tolling on the big tractor-trailer trucks, raising the revenue we have to keep facilities like this going more frequent regular rail service, and give those tractor-trailers the incentive to not be on the roads at rush hour, and off peak times,” Lamont said.
He estimated that trucks could provide $100 million in new revenue to the Special Transportation Fund, and he said that money could also be used to fund future investments around Connecticut.
The state typically borrows hundreds of millions annually, if not more, for transportation projects around Connecticut, but tolls have been a nonstarter in the General Assembly for the past few years. Lawmakers couldn’t even get a study on tolls approved, leading Governor Dannel Malloy to use bonds to pay for a study to answer outstanding questions on the impact of collections and possible avenues for Connecticut.
Rhode Island recently launched the kind of program Lamont is proposing, limiting toll collections to trucks. The program has been put on hold due to a legal challenge that argues only assessing tolls on trucks is discriminatory, and therefore, unconstitutional.
When asked about that, Lamont said, “I guess, you cross that bridge.”
Republican Bob Stefanowski has repeatedly attacked Lamont for pledging to bring tolls back to Connecticut. Stefanowski’s website provides little detail on how the state would see infrastructure upgrades on his watch. He calls for exploring public private partnerships, cutting waste, and prioritizing projects, but does not weigh in how to pay for any projects.
Stefanowski was not available for an interview, Tuesday.
Lamont did criticize his GOP foil for profiting off of toll roads as an executive with 3i, a private equity firm based in Europe, and then calling for public private partnerships in Connecticut.
Lamont said, “It’s ironic, because he says it’s going to be a public private partnership. But, as a CFO should know, the private part of that partnership is looking for a rate of return on their investment, and the way he did it at 3i when he was investing in infrastructure, he did it through electronic tolling.”