ELECTION 2018: Connecticut voters to decide on transportation 'lockbox'

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/9/2018

Voters in Connecticut next month will decide whether to protect the state’s transportation revenue from raids via a “lockbox.”

There are at least 29 states with constitutional provisions on dedicated or restricted state funds for transportation, according to the Council of State Governments. If approved by voters, Connecticut would become the sixth state in five years to adopt a constitutional amendment to protect transportation revenue.

Efforts at the Connecticut statehouse in recent years to raise revenue for transportation work have stalled due to concerns about funds being diverted for other purposes.

In an effort to address this concern, a legislatively referred question on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot will ask voters whether to amend the state’s constitution to prohibit lawmakers from using the state’s Special Transportation Fund for anything other than transportation purposes.

The fund is supported by the state’s fuel tax, motor carrier road tax, petroleum products gross earnings tax, certain motor vehicle receipts and fees, motor vehicle-related fees, and a portion of state sales tax.

Raids of the state’s transportation fund are not uncommon. Through the years legislatures and governors in the Nutmeg State have tapped money raised via vehicle taxes and fees for other purposes.

In recent legislative sessions lawmakers have advocated for higher fuel tax rates and border tolls to help the state address road and bridge funding needs. The efforts have failed to gain support largely due to outgoing-Gov. Dan Malloy’s demands for first adding protections for new revenue.

Advocates say the creation of a lockbox would allow the state to move forward with plans to raise road revenues.

Opponents label the lockbox as a “gimmick” to sell the idea of installing tolls in the state. They add that legislators and a governor could find ways around a constitutional amendment to protect state transportation dollars.

Connecticut residents can access online registration and absentee voting requirements.



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