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Tolls in Connecticut takes a step closer to a possibility

HARTFORD -- In a close 19 to 16 vote, the state's transportation committee passed the Electronic Tolling Bill.

This new bill gives the Department of Transportation the green light to begin the four year planning process of putting up tolls.

Transportation committee co-chair Tony Guerrera, said that planning process will be extensive.

"How we raise money, where the tolling will be throughout the state, how we give Connecticut a discount and with that also, how we start enabling ourselves to start lowering the gas tax," said Guerrera.

But State Senator Toni Boucher, said tolls will simply be a tax on commuters. She thinks the funds gained from tolls will be used improperly.

"There's a lot of concern that if you put in tolls, they're just going to take that money and use it to solve budget deficits just like they have had in the past," said Boucher.

She feels there are better methods to raise money.

"The gas tax is actually more equitable. It affects everyone that drives a car. A toll is just on those people that are unfortunately having to go to their job everyday to somewhere that would cross a state line or go through a toll," said Boucher.

However, Guerrera claims evolving technologies will render a gas tax obsolete.

"Even if you try to raise the gas tax, with today's technology, with fuel efficient cars, hybrids, cars that are going to be driving themselves in about another five years, they're not going to the gas pump anymore," said Guerrera.

He also said the Connecticut Highway Administration has placed restrictions on funds gained from tolls preventing them from misuse.

As for the bill, it still has to pass through the House first, then the Senate.

The next vote in the House on this issue will happen anytime from now until mid June.