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Stefanowski promises trucking firms he’ll oppose tolls

Bob Stefanowski

MERIDEN — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski on Thursday promised Connecticut’s trucking industry that he won’t push for highway tolls if he’s elected in November.

“I will have your back,” the Madison businessman told members of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut on Thursday. “Tolls and taxes, there’s been enough of that.”

Stefanowski said the extra revenue generated from tolls isn’t needed to fix the state’s roads and bridges. Rather, he said the state is “spending plenty,” but not in the right places. He pointed to the state Department of Transportation’s headquarters in Newington, calling it a palace.

“Meanwhile our roads and bridges are crumbling,” he said.

Stefanowski has called for cutting or eliminating various taxes, including phasing out the personal income tax over eight years, to jumpstart Connecticut’s economy.

Two of Stefanowski’s rivals, Democrat Ned Lamont and independent candidate Oz Griebel have proposed variations of tolling proposals. Lamont has called for tolling heavy trucks, similar to what Rhode Island has instituted. He predicts truck tolls could raise $360 million annually in Connecticut to help fix transportation infrastructure.

Rhode Island’s trucking industry is challenging the tolling in court, arguing that it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Griebel has proposed testing tolls on the Hartford area’s high-occupancy-vehicle lanes along Interstate 84. He has said the pilot program would provide valuable information to possibly begin tolling on other highways.

Stefanowski predicted both proposals would ultimately lead to tolls for all commuters.