Last week the Speaker of the House, Joe Aresimowicz, said a vote in the state House of Representatives on bringing tolls back to Connecticut will take place soon, but votes on legalizing marijuana and adding casinos will probably wait until 2019.
How is this possible?
I’m surprised that legislators would be pushing this agenda yet again in Connecticut. On April 5th, a bill that would bring electronic tolling to Connecticut’s highways scraped by on 26-25 vote in the state’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. This was a closer vote than HB. 5394 for Adult-Consumption of Marijuana (27-24).
This bill, which was approved by the Transportation Committee last month, now heads to the House of Representatives. If passed, the legislation would require the Department of Transportation to study how to establish tolling on Interstates 84, 91 and 95, and on the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways. The department would also be required to study the amount of revenue that could be raised from tolls, congestion pricing, and possible discounts for Connecticut residents.
I’m personally disgusted with this course of action from our representatives. Why would I believe that Hartford Legislators will use the toll revenues to fix our highway infrastructure?
The Special Transportation Fund (STF) currently pays for road and bridge capital projects, bus and rail, and the operations of the Department of Transportation. The STF is already funded by gas and vehicle taxes, license and permit fees, federal money and a gross earnings tax on petroleum distributors. With these revenue streams already available why haven’t they been used to repair our roads? Why would we defer funds from highway repairs to building a railway from New Haven to Springfield, when we can’t properly maintain the infrastructure we already have?
So why am I even bringing up tolls?
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, believes he has more support to pass tolls than adult-consumption of marijuana. This is mind-boggling, since 71% of residents support adult-consumption, but I can almost guarantee that there are far less residents who support tolls.
When will our legislators open their ears and listen to the residents of Connecticut. Legalize adult-consumption this year, get re-elected, and continue your push agenda for tolls next year. We should expect our representation to represent us before we give them the legacy they desire.
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