Could tolls return to Connecticut?

| 4/29/2011

An effort to resurrect highway tolls in Connecticut is one step closer to getting the go-ahead.

State officials removed tolls from the Connecticut Turnpike in the mid-’80s. Concerns about safety and congestion spurred the state to remove toll booths that were scattered across roadways.

The Legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee voted 37-15 to advance a bill to the full House and Senate that would open the door to the revenue source. Temporary tolls would be authorized to pay for such projects as the completion of state Route 11 in southeastern Connecticut. Existing roadways would continue to be toll free.

If approved by lawmakers, the bill – HB6200 – would move to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s desk. The governor has said he wants the last eight miles of the road connecting Hartford with the southeastern part of the state to get done, and tolls are an option. Currently, the route ends in Salem, where traffic must detour.

Tolls would be removed when enough toll revenue is generated to cover construction bonds and “an amount estimated to be required for maintenance and repair” is collected.

Supporters say completion of the route is necessary to relieve congestion on state Route 85.

Opponents say the bill’s passage would create a slippery slope for reinstituting tolls throughout the state.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Connecticut, click here.

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