Electronic tolling is not being considered solely as a source of revenue to repair Connecticut’s roads. It’s also thought tolls might be able to alleviate massive traffic congestion in both Hartford and the 1-95corridor in Fairfield County.
“You`re gonna be driving 60, 65 miles an hour through the tolls, which is just a steel beam that carries an infrared light that hits a transponder,” said state representative Tony Guerrera (D-Rocky Hill), who chairs the legislature’s Transportation Committee.
One way these money makers can keep the flow on the go: express toll lanes, using congestion pricing.
“The pricing works by charging a higher toll rate during a peak than during the off-peak,” says Tom Maziarz, of the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
Connecticut residents often express concern that tolls revenues will end up being taken from the transportation fund and end up in the state`s general fund. However, federal requirements state toll revenue must be reinvested in the same roads you collected it from
An additional safe guard: a legislative lock box, which keeps hungry hands out of the cookie jar.
“If we do this, there has to be legislation that says that it needs 2/3 of the legislative body to vote to take that money out of the lock box,” said Guerrera.
Federal funding, for road upkeep, has been flat or declining for the last 5 to 10 years. And, with automobile fuel efficiency up, the gas tax is not generating enough revenue either.
“Fuel efficiency of the fleet is expected to double in the next decade,” said Maziarz. “That means you’re going to get half of the gasoline tax revenue.”
Guerrera believes electronic tolling is unobtrusive and necessary.
“People travel through the state of Connecticut and they don`t stop to put gas in because we have one of the highest gas taxes,” said Guerrera. “We`re paying the bill for everyone else to use our roads and ruin them and we have to foot the bill every year.”
Massachusetts is in the process of switching from toll booths to electronic tolling, a process whjich should be complete in the Spring of 2017.