Cara has made it a priority to protect our constitutional rights in Hartford. She is a member of CCDL and vocal proponent of self-protection.
The people of Connecticut have made it very clear that they DO NOT support tolls.
Did you know that between the years 2000 and 2021 (per the last budget passed in the 2019 legislative session) almost $1 billion dollars will have been diverted from the Special Transportation Fund? This is money that could have and should have been used to fix our roads and bridges.
Per the US Census Bureau, the CT and Bristol work commuter breakdown is as follows:
10 miles or less to work — 51.1%
10 to 24 miles to work — 29.4%%
25 to 50 miles to work — 13.3%
Greater than 50 miles — 6.2%
10 miles or less to work — 50.8%
10 to 24 miles to work — 36.7%
25 to 50 miles to work — 7.7%
Greater than 50 miles — 4.8%
General drawbacks to tolls:
· This would be a new tax on the people of Connecticut.
· Other tax rates (such as the gas tax) will not be reduced even if tolls are installed –NOTE: Legislation passed out of transportation committee that would lower the state’s gas tax by 2.5 cents per gallon over five years. But this is still a VERY small reduction.
· This is another way for the government to raid people’s wallets to continue unsustainable spending habits.
· There are significant capital costs to implement toll infrastructure across roadways.
· We cannot implement border tolls based on federal law and funding
· There are no studies showing how tolls could actually make money. Current studies available are based on rates significantly higher than tolls in other states and do not factor in traffic moving off of toll roadways.
Why not border tolls?
The Federal Highway Administration has said the state will NOT be approved for border tolls. The federal government has said it won’t cut aid to the state if Connecticut implements congestion mitigation tolls, but if those tolls go on the border we would be acting without federal approval and therefore putting federal funding at risk.
Will it Make Money?
· There has been no study to map out if tolls will actually make money after factoring in construction costs, the fee structure for tolls, and people’s likelihood of using roadways with tolls.
· People could avoid the roads. Not just within CT, but the out of state residents driving through multiple states could entirely circumvent most of Connecticut if prices are too high. Particularly along I-95 where Route 1 runs parallel.
· Studies thus far are based on toll prices that far exceed tolls in other places by anywhere between 2-4 times the highest rate in the country. These studies ignore looking at the cost at which people decide to jump off the highway to take other routes. They also do not take into account how out of state drivers could plan routes around Connecticut if toll rates are set too high.
· The estimated annual gross toll revenue over 25 yrs (2020 – 2044) = $275 mill/yr avg. Depending, net toll revenue over 25 yrs could be b/w $6.2 bill – $9.2 bill
But we need to get out of state drivers to pay for our roads too, right?
Out-of-state drivers already do contribute to CT’s transportation budget, through:
· Per-mile costs that truck drivers pay, and
· Through a disbursement of federal gas tax dollars that benefits CT more than states that have tolls. Because we don’t have tolls we get more federal funds as a result of mileage taxes people from all states pay.
· To get out of state drivers to pay we also would need reciprocity with other states to bill drivers who travel through CT. This is another challenge that would need to be addressed.
Other Challenges to tolls in CT:
· Timeline – Before anything can begin, state needs to extensively study locations for toll placements, and fee structures for tolls.
· Tolling existing interstate routes is currently prohibited by federal law.
Exceptions to current federal law are limited and only include the following:
· Tolls can be used on new highways, bridges and tunnels, or on new lanes on existing highways. Issues: requires construction of new roads or lanes.
· Interstate System Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Pilot Program (ISRRPP) – up to three states can add tolls to interstate routes being constructed. Issues: all three slots already filled for this, only applies to new routes being constructed, requires federal authorization and agreements.
· Value Pricing Pilot Program (VPPP) – This is the only method that would allow tolls across CT. This would allow interstate tolling if congestion pricing is part of tolling. Issues: needs federal authorization, agreements, and extensive studies to determine placements and fee structures
· Conversion of high-occupancy vehicles (HOV) lanes to high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. Issues: questions about how much revenue this could actually generate.
There are Other Options - The CT Republican “Prioritize Progress” transportation funding plan which dedicates $63 billion to transportation over 30 years without new taxes or tolls.
Connecticut’s revenue problem is a result of its spending problem. We have taxed everything that moves, and everything that doesn’t. Let’s get our spending under control before we drive anymore businesses and people out of the state.