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Tolls Study Came with Hefty Price Tag

The newest tolling study released by the Connecticut Department of Transportation on November 15 came at a price — and it wasn’t just commuters’ anxiety over paying the state for every highway mile they drive.

According to an email from DOT Principal Attorney Alice Sexton, the tolling report produced by engineering consultant CDM Smith cost taxpayers $2,035,000, roughly equal to $23,391 per page.

That’s approximately half the state’s cost to repair Hartford’s I-84 viaduct located near the Capitol Building, according to the DOT.

Sexton’s email was in response to Sen. Len Suzio, R-Meriden, who had previously filed a Freedom of Information complaint against DOT for refusing to release the study, even after DOT Commissioner James Redeker cited the study’s results before the State Bond Commission in July.

It wasn’t until mid-November on the afternoon of a snowstorm that DOT quietly released the study, which calls for 82 tolling gantries on every Connecticut highway and toll rates ranging from 3.5 to 7.9 cents per mile for passenger cars.

CDM Smith estimates the toll revenue could top $1 billion per year, although construction would cost at least $372 million and the tolls would require $100 million per year in operating costs.

It also proposed tolls on non-interstate highways like Route 8 and Route 15, among others.

This was the second tolling study produced by CDM Smith since 2015. The previous iteration offered a variety of tolling scenarios and pricing, which ranged from 10 to 20 cents per mile with up to 121 tolling gantries.

However, during the 2018 legislative session, pro-toll lawmakers like House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, began to walk back those tolling rates, saying they would offer discounts for in-state drivers.

The newest tolling study was “designed to inform a dialogue among our elected leaders and the citizens of Connecticut about the potential for instituting tolls in the state,” Redeker said in a press release.

While DOT’s tolling study cost over $2 million, it is not the only tolling study in the works.

Gov. Dannel Malloy issued an executive order to borrow $10 million to do an environmental impact study on tolling Connecticut’s highways, which is necessary to obtain federal approval to toll interstates.

Governor-elect Ned Lamont reiterated his plan to toll only out-of-state trucks. A similar attempt by Rhode Island to toll only out-of-state trucks currently faces a lawsuit.

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Marc E. Fitch

(15) Comments

  1. Robert

    January 3, 2019 9:07 am

    Pam K has it right. The State Union leaders have done well by their people. Milked us and broke us. For shame the State leadership hasn’t had the forethought of what it will cost us and how to pay for it. Twenty year retirements for State cops and Correction officers are justifiable, not for Department of Labor, Dept. of Transportation, DEEP or any other beneficiaries. Ridiculous.

  2. Glenn Banks

    January 2, 2019 9:29 pm

    It’s a total Joke, Ned LaMont sucks !! He is a liar, !!Never mentioned Gas Tax increase yet his “TRANSITION ” Team is RECOMMENDING IT so NEW TOOLS and an INCREASE in Gas TAX ALSO !! A DOUBLE HIT !!!! Time to leave this State !!! It’s AWFUL !!

  3. Glenn Banks

    January 2, 2019 9:27 pm

    to all of you IDIOTS who voted for LaMont, What did u think you fools !!!! tolls on Rt 8 Rt 15 Rt 2 etc etc It’s time to RAPE AND PILLAGE the RESIDENTS OF THIS HAPLESS STATE CALLED CONNECTIF__K !! TOTALLY RIDICULOUS !!!! OUT OF OCNTROL< STOP SPENDING YOU IDIOTS IN HTFD !!!! IT's TIME TO MOVE !!! ADIOS !!

  4. Chris

    December 20, 2018 4:55 pm

    OK sure, I can afford it and I hope you morons who vote DemocRAT every year can to… enjoy !

  5. john

    December 10, 2018 3:27 pm

    Blub blub blub Ct is sinking fast!

  6. jj@live.com

    December 3, 2018 8:15 am

    You voted YES for tolls when you voted for Ned.

  7. Marty Be

    November 29, 2018 10:17 am

    Hopefully Ned Lamont will be the change agent for all of us. He is too smart to allow the continuance of Malloy’s obscene politics.

  8. Pam K

    November 28, 2018 3:49 pm

    If spending was sufficiently controlled like it is in the private sector these tolls would not be necessary. Staffing levels of each agency of the State of CT needs to be revisited, labor agreements need to be abolished and benefits for life need to be abolished, “free” benefits for spouses of State of CT employees need to be abolished. That’s what’s wrong with CT – the legacy costs associated with current and prior State of CT employee pensions and benefits. Public Servants or Royalty?

  9. Ken Stokowski

    November 27, 2018 7:29 pm

    When the tolls are in place get ready to see state and city vehicles being used for personal use at night, weekends and vacations. Why would the politicians drive their own vehicle when a state or city vehicle will have tolls paid reimbursed. Also, any union members that have reimbursements that increase their pensions will actually receive more pension money because they drove through the tolls when working. Lastly, get ready for the city road congestion as people take the backroads to eliminate paying a toll.

  10. Catherine La Forza

    November 27, 2018 7:05 pm

    I’ve lived and worked in CT for 30 years. Now that I’ve retired I can’t afford to live in a house that’s paid for because of property tax rates. I have to pay property tax to own a car and now we are going to be taxed to drive it?

    I understand the need for taxes and am willing to pay my fair share, but you can’t lay this all on the backs of residents without us breaking. What id the CT corporate tax rate these days?

  11. Jeff Z

    November 27, 2018 5:35 pm

    When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic- Ben Franklin

    Ta-Dahhhhh!!!!!!! “Turn out the lights, the party’s over”- Willie Nelson

  12. rick baldwin

    November 27, 2018 4:57 pm

    By the latest election results,the employees,their families,welfare recipients & illegals of Corrupticut have decided they want every nickle you got.

  13. Robert

    November 27, 2018 3:46 pm

    What kind of thief taxes every highway in their state ? Nobody but Ct. See how much more you pay once every truck that delivers in Ct adds the cost to your bill another screw job by the democrats. We have to have the dumbest voters in the country suckers for punishment!

  14. Neil Tolhurst

    November 27, 2018 1:34 pm

    Everyone in Ct needs to repeatedly contact their state representative and senator, plus all the members of the transportation committee and urge them to oppose the proposals to put electronic driving TAXES on all our highways.

  15. Ron Page

    November 27, 2018 8:35 am

    Piecemeal the studies so taxpayers never know how many dollars were actually transferred to the administration’s cronies and/or kicked back to Malloy. (When will someone question the record grant given to Woodbury to purchase the Aquarion property?)

    $100 million in unionized state employee compensation, plus future benefits. For an all-electronic system with no “toll-booth” operations.

    $372 million in construction costs. Plus all the studies and their buried costs, plus the bonding cost, plus the over-runs, plus the purchase of private property to site gantries and ancillaries. (Recall the Malloy administration’s purchases.)

    Plus the lost “revenue” from the federal government because Connecticut institutes tolls.

    I don’t even know what to say.

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