$10 million Connecticut toll study gets green light

Connecticut

Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Dannel Malloy says the next Governor and legislature can put the brakes on the study next year but it has gotten the green light and will move forward.  The $10 million dollar toll study passed 6 to 3 with one member of the Bonding Commission did not vote.

Following Wednesday’s vote, Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven), the Senate President Pro tem saying, “The Governor wants what he wants so he bull rushed this through and that’s just wrong.  The reason why this matter was not taken up in the legislature is because Connecticut residents told legislators ‘we don’t want that.”

Despite the consistent support of the Speaker of the House, the matter of tolls or even a study about 
tolls,  never came up for a vote in the Assembly this year.

State Bonding Commission member Sen.Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich) made that point during today’s debate about the study saying, “This whole concept of tolls in the state of Connecticut along with doing the study, was something that went through the legislative process and failed and failed pretty miserably.”

The Republicans, who are outnumbered by Democrats on the State Bonding Commission 8 to 2,  fought for over an hour against the toll study but in the end were only joined in their opposition by Democratic State Comptroller Kevin Lembo who had announced earlier he would oppose the study.
Democratic State Treasurer Denise Nappier abstained.  She had also announced that before today’s meeting.

Bonding Commission member Rep. Chris Davis (R-Ellington) speaking during the meeting said,  “I’m very concerned that the authority in order to move forward with this study was not presented and approved by the legislature and is now being done here and I question whether that authority even exists.” 

But the Democratic Attorney General, who is also a voting member of the Bonding Commission declared that Governor Malloy’s Executive Order placing the toll study on the agenda  today was entirely legal adding,  “The legislature’s failure to act does not by itself pre empt executive authority.” 

Governor Malloy summed it up this way;  “Let’s not be ‘know nothings.’  Let’s not fall back on those bad practices of doing less and knowing less.  Let’s not sputter and stall while other states speed ahead.”

Ned Lamont, the Democrat running for Governor said today that this study is “wasteful” that there’s
enough information already.  Governor Malloy says it’s important for the next Governor and legislature to know what they may not want to know.

The State Transportation Commissioner said that studies already done have concluded that highway tolls of 3.5 cents a mile in Connecticut could raise a billion dollars a year for transportation projects.

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