Malloy signs executive order to force tolls study

Gov. Dannel Malloy signed an executive order on Tuesday forcing another study on how to implement electronic tolls on Connecticut’s highways and their potential impact on commuters.

Tolls were a hot-button issue during the 2018 legislative session. Several bills which would have authorized the  study and implementation of tolls were never brought to a vote due to public and political opposition.

According to the governor’s press release a $10 million bond will fund a study of how electronic tolls on I-84, I-95, I-91, the Merritt and Wilbur Cross, and “other limited access highways as determined by the DOT commissioner” would affect commuters and transportation revenue.

“Today, I am directing state agencies to commence a comprehensive study that will provide the legislature with just that,” Malloy said in a press release. “As Connecticut’s General Assembly and next governor consider how to address the future of our state’s transportation funding, this study and plan will prove to be invaluable in their endeavor to make an informed decision.”

Malloy began 2018 with an announcement that the state’s Special Transportation Fund was insolvent due to high debt service costs and increasing operating costs. The governor recommended implementing tolls, a higher gasoline tax and a tire tax.

A bill in the House would have authorized a study on tolling in Connecticut as well as completed the environmental studies necessary for federal approval for tolling Connecticut’s interstates. Although House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, promised to bring the measure to a vote in the House, a vote was never held.

A 2015 study by CDM Smith, an engineering consulting company, estimated that 78 toll gantries on Connecticut’s interstate highways and the Merritt/Wilbur Cross parkways could bring in more than $1 billion per year to the Special Transportation Fund.

The study also estimated that 70 percent of the cost would be paid by in-state residents.

Several groups loudly opposed tolls in Connecticut including the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, radio hosts Chaz & AJ in the Morning and the Yankee Institute, which held a “Toll Troll” demonstration on the front lawn of the Capitol building in April.

“On his way out the door, Dan Malloy is spending $10 million of the people’s money to study a way to take even more money from Connecticut residents who need to drive to work,” said Carol Platt Liebau, president of Yankee Institute. “Hasn’t he done enough over the past eight years to make things difficult for Connecticut taxpayers?”

President of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut Joe Sculley questioned why the state would need to spend an additional $10 million.

“I believe the message this sends is that these state agencies can’t do their job unless they get extra bond money,” Sculley said. “These agencies have studies already from expert consultants like CDM Smith. At the end of the 2018 session there was an effort to pass legislation that ignored the CDM Smith study.”

In his press release, Malloy says the study will explore ways in which Connecticut drivers could receive a discount or whether Connecticut could potentially lower the gasoline tax — two ideas floated at the end of 2018’s legislative session by Democratic representatives who supported tolls.

Although tolls proved unpopular with the public, Malloy has already said he will not seek reelection, leaving a future governor and legislature to decide what to do with the results of the study.

“We need to be truthful with the people we were elected to represent,” Malloy said. “Without transforming the way we fund our highways, we will be unable to pay for the large-scale construction and rehabilitation projects that our state needs to ensure continued safe travel while attracting businesses and growing our economy.”

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(7) Comments

  1. NancyNurse

    July 25, 2018 6:55 pm

    I agree with JoAnn to ask Rhode Island for their study. Of course CT would have to pay a fee to Rhode Island for their I-95 Tractor Trailer Study. It’s certainly more cost effective than paying out $10 Million for an unnecessary CT Toll Survey. Don’t forget that the $10 Million price tag for a CT Toll Survey will be paid by 70% of CT taxpayers too.

    What’s wrong with Malloy? Is Malloy having a problem with his cognitive ability to think/process logic and reasoning?

    No more Democrats for governor in the State of CT. All Democrats do to solve budgetary problems is raise taxes in CT. Raising taxes in the State of CT is only a ‘band-aid,’ not solving CT’s money problems. How about some fiscal responsibility in the State of CT?

  2. JoAnn

    July 18, 2018 6:26 pm

    Rhode Island has implemented overhead automatic tolls on I-95 for Tractor Trailers only. This is an idea that is worth looking into. Imagine the $$ from trucks coming from NYC traveling thru CT to the rest of New England. Just ask Rhode Island for their study. Don’t spend a dime!

  3. Tom T.

    July 18, 2018 9:23 am

    Because Democrats would kill their first born if they had to in order to raise tax’s on the population.

  4. Chuck Lupo

    July 17, 2018 9:10 pm

    Malloy is just a slimeball. Period. He talks a good game but if he really wanted to save the taxpayers money, he and all his fraudulent cronies would earn far less annual income and little or no retirement, funded by the taxpayers. If you truly want to “serve the people” it shouldn’t be a six figure income and a pension paid by us. Go get a real job and do real, hard work for a living and not live in a mansion paid for by the taxpayers and you will sing a different tune. Asswipe.

  5. Sall Cappello

    July 17, 2018 8:26 pm

    A referendum would settle this issue regarding the tolls. Any state representative who favors tolls should not be re-elected. Our current reps who favor this toll issue should not be re- elected and we know who they are.

  6. Shawn

    July 17, 2018 4:56 pm

    “We need to be truthful with the people we were elected to represent,” Malloy said. “Without transforming the way we fund our highways, we will be unable to pay for the large-scale construction and rehabilitation projects that our state needs to ensure continued safe travel while attracting businesses and growing our economy.”

    Malloy has NEVER been truthful with the people and cancelling that SEBAC deal will provide enough money to fund “large-scale construction and rehabilitation projects”

  7. Massimiliano Accaputo

    July 17, 2018 4:46 pm

    Start a petition that states that the residents of CT will VOTE OUT any and ALL politicians that vote for tolls in the state of CT. Enough is enough and the citizens MUST have a voice!!! Vote OUT the crooks of this state in November!!!

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