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Connecticut Officials Consider Tolls To Raise Funds For Road Repairs

Traffic on I-95 in Norwalk - Oct. 31, 2012 (credit: CT DOT)

Traffic on I-95 in Norwalk – Oct. 31, 2012 (credit: CT DOT)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSnewYork) – State officials in Connecticut will soon be looking into whether to implement highway tolls on two main roadways to help cover the costs of road repairs.

The public will be involved in the process, according to state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reports

Questionnaires will soon be handed out to drivers at rest stops along Interstate 84 in Hartford and Interstate 95 in the southwestern part of the state to analyze driving patterns.

“We’re actively looking at tolling but we’re going to do it in a careful way and take a look at it, collect all the facts, find out what the impacts would be and what it might play in terms of a role for funding,” Redeker told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

Tolls have become a possibility due to shrinking funding both on the state and federal levels, Schneidau reported. However, no action – beyond the surveys – will be taken right away.

“We just received the [federal] grants and we’re initiating the work, so we’re probably looking at an18-month to two-year investigation of those two locations,” Redeker said.

At a forum on transportation on Monday, Redeker warned that the state has $3 billion in transportation infrastructure repairs to make without the necessary funding to cover the projects.

Redeker also noted that the transportation funding woes will only get worse when a federal transportation bill Congress passed this year expires in 2014.

According to the Hartford Courant, the state could lose roughly a third of its annual $486 million federal highway aid after 2014.

Participants of the forum held by Gov. Dannel Malloy agreed that unpopular means of raising funds need to be considered to help the state bridge the projected gap.

In addition to tolls, the participants said raising the state gas tax or adding an additional gas tax have to be considered.

Transportation needs for the state are largely funded by Connecticut’s gas tax.

It remains unclear whether the tax will remain on the books if tolls were initiated.

The questionnaires will start being handed out to drivers soon, Redeker said.

I-95 was a toll road in Connecticut until 1983, Schneidau reported.

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