State lawmakers revisit highway tolls at public hearing

HARTFORD — State lawmakers are revisiting whether to install electronic tolls on Connecticut highways.

The General Assembly's Transportation Committee held a public hearing Monday on several bills that would require the tolls. One proposal called for congestion tolling, typically a fee charged to drivers during peak travel times. A special panel recommended congestion tolling last year as a way to help pay for Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's planned $100 billion overhaul of state transportation infrastructure.

Malloy recently said tolls could be part of a "long-term solution."

The Transportation Committee held an informational meeting last week to learn more about modern tolls, such as license plate cameras and E-Z Pass-style devices.

"This is a fair way," remarked State Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, during a Transportation Committee Monday morning. "I have been preaching this for the last four years and it's come now that we either gotta do something or we just let it go and wait for something bad to happen."

"We are taxing our residents to death and quite frankly this tolling scheme is just another word for a tax, that's how people see it," said State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Ridgefield.

Tolls have been proposed in previous legislative sessions but the bills failed.