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Gov. negotiating toll reciprocity with other states

HARTFORD — The toll clock is ticking.

The governor has been courting lawmakers and citizens to gauge political support for the controversial issue.

And we’ve learned he’s also been talking to his counterparts in neighboring states, which could affect Connecticut residents.

Governor Lamont has been on a whistle-stop tour across Connecticut pitching tolls. He even stopped by a no tolls rally in his hometown of Greenwich the other day.

Despite the public appearances, a bill to vote on still hasn’t seen the light of day. There are just 22 days left in the legislative session.

The House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said the details of a compromise bill almost don’t matter.

“People have drawn their lines in the sand and they have perceived details. You can tell them 100 times to Sunday that there’s no more 82 gantries and there are 82 gantries you all are lying. You can tel them you can get 40 percent from out-of-state and offer discounts and they’ll say that’s no true show me how. So it’s now become an emotional debate.”

But one big detail that does matter to Republicans is reciprocity. Gov. Lamont is opening talks with Massachusetts and Rhode Island to forge an agreement that would allow those states to collect on your unpaid tolls.

Rep. Themis Klarides, (R) House Minority Leader said, “I am not supportive of tolls in the first place because I don’t believe that the state should be sticking their hands in your pockets any more than they do and they do an awful lot. And then in addition I’m not going to give up our citizens private data.”

That data would be shared between state DMVs, essentially allowing them to be able to match your license plate to your name and address, giving them recourse to collect unpaid tolls. The flip side is it would allow Connecticut to also collect unpaid tolls from out-of-state drivers.

Speaker Aresimowicz said, “Governor Baker is on the news all the time saying he wants his $5 million from Connecticut drivers. I want my share of that from Massachusetts too.”

From what we know about the governor’s so called compromise bill, it would be about 50 gantries, all electronic. With up to 50 percent discounts for in state EZ Pass holders with up to 40 percent of the a $800 million revenue goal collected from out-of-state drivers.

The governor says lawmakers need to be willing to make a tough vote.

“I think a lot of them would love to kick the can, defer this, study it, borrow it. Those are all the wrong solutions,” said Gov. Lamont.

The Governor told us he’s confident tolls will get done before the legislature breaks for the summer. The House Speaker said he’s willing to come in and debate on the weekends, if that’s what it takes.

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