The debate over tolls between state lawmakers in Connecticut may have tilted in favor of the Republicans. Protestors recently gave Gov. Ned Lamont an anti-toll petition with more than 100,000 signatures.
Approximately one month after Gov. Lamont and Democrat lawmakers held a news conference explaining a toll proposal to pay for infrastructure needs, activists showed up at the governor’s office to present a petition against the plan. As of May 9, the petition had acquired 100,763 signatures.
The petition is short and to the point:
We, the undersigned, demand that Governor Ned Lamont veto and the Connecticut General Assembly vote NO on any, and ALL, proposed legislation to implement TOLLS in the State of Connecticut.
The proposed tolls will:
Hurt our state economy and tourism.
Raise the cost of living.
Affect the majority of Connecticut residents, especially the middle- and low-income working classes.
Signatures were obtained from website NoTollsCT.org. According to the website, 18 towns in Connecticut have passed a “no tolls” resolution. The website also makes the following claims about what 82 toll gantries will do:
- Increase the cost of every item transported into Connecticut.
- Increase the cost of doing business in the state of Connecticut.
- Increase traffic on secondary roads, which will translate into increased wear and tear and lead to higher property taxes and increased pollution.
- Increase the size of government by creating a toll authority.
Although the website still makes the claim of 82 toll gantries, Gov. Lamont scaled back that initial proposal by stating there will be no more than 50 gantries.
The anti-toll group is also concerned about how their tax dollars are currently being spent.
“We believe that the drivers of Connecticut already pay our fair share of taxes for transportation,” the website states. “Until we see that the General Assembly is serious about fixing Connecticut’s fiscal crisis and addiction to spending, we say NOT ONE PENNY MORE. DO YOU HAVE AN EXTRA $600-$1,000 IN YOUR WALLET?”
Arguments made by activists echo similar claims made by state Republican lawmakers.
Rep. Laura Devlin, ranking member of the transportation committee, said that Connecticut taxpayers already pay a lot of money with $500 million in gas taxes, $330 million in petroleum gross excise taxes, as well as a car tax. She said nearby states do not have those level of taxes.
“And now we’re saying, ‘Connecticut resident, on top of all those user fees, we want you to come out of pocket on Day 1 of an additional $650 million,’” Devlin said.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano called the governor’s news conference in April a “desperate attempt” to gain support.
“This is just a desperate attempt to try to get a toll plan – which has failed, which is going to fail this state and fail in the way it’s rolled out – back on track,” Fasano said.
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