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Toll proposals pass committee in party line vote; Republicans fight back

DERBY - Tolls are now a step closer in Connecticut.

A first hurdle has been cleared for toll supporters. Three proposals were given the stamp of approval and were voted out of the Transportation Committee Wednesday evening.

Electronic tolls would be installed along I-95, I-84. I-91 and Route 15.

Republicans promised to fight tolls every step of the way. They hosted an informational forum at Derby City Hall to give residents a chance to express their thoughts.

One of the lawmakers who attended was State Representative Laura Devlin who is against tolls.

Details on the bills voted out of committee

“We might have specific areas or specific projects that it might make sense to put in targeted tolls but that really requires having a broad transportation infrastructure vision and plan and we haven’t seen that yet,” said Republican State Rep. Laura Devlin of the 134th District.

Earlier in the day, Governor Ned Lamont have a lengthy speech as he continued to advocate for tolls in order to pay for Connecticut’s transportation system.

FOX 61 asked the governor how he has been responding to the skepticism over whether the money would actually be dropped into the Transportation Fund. He said people have the right to be hesitant.

“I’m trying to see what worked in other states. Trying to make sure what we do is sort of a coincident with what’s going on in Rhode Island, learn a little bit from the Massachusetts example. We’re not first out of the box on this by any means and there’s a fair amount of history right now,” said Governor Lamont.

State Representative Joe Aresimowicz, another Democrat, said he is on board with tolls. He provided an example of how other states charge out-of-state drivers, but Connecticut has allowed non-Connecticut residents to “abuse” our roads.

“We need more infrastructure money here in the state. This is the only plan put on the table currently that gets 40 percent from out of state drivers. It’s an important aspect to it,” said State Rep. Joe Aresimowicz, Speaker of the House.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano and Senator Henri Martin voted against the toll proposals in the committee hearing and called the vote “disappointing.”

Patrick Sasser with No Tolls CT stood anxiously outside of the hearing only to eventually find out all three proposals passed the committee.

“I’m a little upset that they don’t talk about how this is going to impact the wallets of the residents in Connecticut. You know, families are struggling to survive and live here in Connecticut and when you talk about tolls, it’s a tax,” said Sasser.

Now that the three bills have passed the committee, the two House Bills will head to the floor of the House and the Senate bill will head to the floor of the Senate for further action.

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