CT Lawmaker: Arena Sales Tax Could Help Avoid Rail Fare Hike

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A Connecticut lawmaker has come up with a creative way to avoid a proposed rail fare increase.

Connecticut State Rep. Gail Lavielle, R-Wilton, suggests eliminating tax exemptions for the XL Center in Hartford and a single gas company, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reports.

Earlier this month, the Connecticut Department of Transportation proposed a 5 percent fare hike for the New Haven Metro-North Railroad line, including the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branches as well as Shore Line East.

The proposed increase is expected to raise $5.9 million.

Lavielle says implementing a sales tax at the XL Center would generate $3.5 million. The arena is home to The University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as the Hartford Wolf Pack and several other events.

Lavielle says the rest of the $5.9 million would come from eliminating a tax exemption for a gas company in eastern Connecticut.

“It just benefits one single company, it was enacted in 2004 as a favor to one particular legislator,” she said.

Lavielle and more than a dozen of her colleagues recently rode the rails collecting 1,720 signatures for a petition opposing the proposed fair hike.

She hopes to present her plan to lawmakers at a special legislative session in October.

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