HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – Lawmakers in Connecticut are pushing for a vote on a plan to reinstate tolls on major roadways.
Tolls were eliminated in 1985, but may return to help ease a cash crunch that’s holding up infrastructure projects.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports, in a few years, Connecticut may be welcoming drivers with an electronic toll collection system that charges their E-ZPass or sends a bill to the address linked to their license plates.
One proposal would put tolls on five major roads – Interstates 95, 84 and 91 – and two popular parkways – the Merritt and the Wilbur Cross.
Drivers could be charged $6 to travel I-95 from the New York state line to New Haven.
“I’m against it,” John Rapp, of Stamford, told Aiello. “I don’t think it’s good for Connecticut drivers.”
Greenwich resident Sam Romeo said he used to oppose tolls in Connecticut, until he thought about the E-ZPass he uses for tolls in New York and New Jersey and noticed all the cars with out-of-state plates on Connecticut roads.
“They get a free ride? Why?” he said. “Our roads are taking a beating.”
Supports say the toll plan could raise up to $800 million to fix Connecticut roads and help fund mass transit.
“I think it’s very critical, because I think our economy is based on how well our transportation system does,” Connecticut state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff told Aiello, saying he’s undecided about tolls and has many questions. “How much would they cost? Would they be differential depending on the day? Would Connecticut residents get a discount?”
“All those questions remain unanswered at this point,” he added.
Some lawmakers say if Connecticut starts taking in revenue through tolls, it ought to reduce the pain at the pump by cutting the state’s gasoline tax, currently the sixth-highest in the country.
They better put the pedal down if they want to settle this soon, Aiello reported. Their session ends May 9.
Lawmakers say without a new source of revenue, Connecticut’s special transportation fund will run out of money in a few years.