Governor Lamont and Transportation Chairs Provide Update on Infrastructure Investment Proposal
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont and the co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, Senator Carlo Leone and Representative Roland Lemar, today provided an update on their efforts to pass a transportation infrastructure investment proposal that helps support and grow Connecticut’s economy. In late March, the Transportation Committee approved three bills authorizing tolls, and the Lamont administration, working closely with Senator Leone and Representative Lemar, has begun crafting one bill with the following guiding principles in mind:
- What can we do to best invest in our transportation infrastructure and help spur economic development and growth in a way that doesn’t saddle future generations?
- What can we do to mitigate this cost for Connecticut drivers?
- What can we do to ensure out-of-state drivers who use our roads help pay their fair share?
“We have an opportunity to truly address Connecticut’s decades-old transportation woes, which are severely hampering our ability to get our state’s economy growing again, and do so in a way that out-of-state drivers will help pay for their wear and tear on our roads,” Governor Lamont said. “Working with the leaders of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, we are crafting a proposal that provides the maximum discount to Connecticut drivers, provides additional support for low-income individuals and families, and raises the funding necessary to get our state moving again. Our proposal is supported by a broad coalition of local, business, labor, and legislative leaders and improves our transportation system without passing 100 percent of the cost on Connecticut taxpayers and future generations.”
“As a Fairfield County resident, I am surrounded by out-of-state drivers daily that do damage to our roads, bridges and highways,” Senator Leone said. “Our infrastructure needs substantial work to ensure the safety of the individuals and families who use them every day. It is irresponsible and unwise to continue to kick the can down the road until a catastrophic event occurs, which would cost our state immensely. This transportation infrastructure investment proposal will provide the funds necessary to keep our roads, bridges, and highways safe and do so by requiring individuals from other states to foot a large portion of the bill for the privilege of driving on our roads, much like we do when we drive to other states. With the passage of this legislation, we will reduce traffic congestion on our highways, bolster our economy, and have the funding necessary to ensure all of our roads, bridges, and highways are safe.”
“Most of us on both sides of the aisle agree on the magnitude of our transportation woes, however, the misleading public messaging on the other side continues to confuse people,” Representative Lemar said. “The fact is that transportation infrastructure has been a legislative priority for many decades, but partisan politics have gotten in the way of making real progress and we are at a tipping point where we must act before it gets worse. As the supposedly fiscally responsible party, I am surprised that Republicans are willing to push upgrade costs onto our children and grandchildren for decades to come instead of taking a feasible approach today. Their borrowing plan, plain and simple, will result in an income tax increase, period. It’s time to stop the word games and scare tactics. The plan we are considering today is realistic and doesn’t place the burden solely on Connecticut taxpayers.”
**DOWNLOAD: Examples of projects in jeopardy if the Republicans’ “Prioritize Borrowing” plan were approved [Source: Connecticut Office of Policy and Management]
The governor and chairmen announced several key provisions including:
- The language about the bill being approved within 15 days will be removed;
- 40 percent of the revenue from tolls will be paid for by out-of-state drivers;
- There will be no more than 50 gantries;
- I-84, I-95, I-91, and Route 15 will be tolled;
- Tolls gantries will be placed roughly every six to seven miles. People who use a Connecticut EZ-Pass and a frequent user discount could expect to pay roughly 25-30 cents per gantry, or 4.4 cents per mile; and
- Additional consideration of ways to mitigate the costs for Connecticut drivers.
**DOWNLOAD: Examples of selected trips under the current proposal [Source: Connecticut Department of Transportation]
“To get Connecticut growing again, we have to get Connecticut moving again,” Governor Lamont said. “We remain committed to passing a proposal that reflects the feedback and suggestions from members of the legislature, who – like us – know that the ratings agencies and businesses alike are watching our debate on this critical issue. We continue to discuss the full proposal and look forward to working with our colleagues to best support Connecticut’s economic development and growth.”