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Highway tolls move a step closer

April 5, 2018 GMT

HARTFORD - A key committee on Thursday moved a plan to place electronic tolls on highways across the state a step closer to reality.

The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee in a party line vote passed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s bill authorizing the state Department of Transportation to develop and implement statewide tolling.

Although the details are not yet worked out, it’s likely tolls would be placed on I-95, I-84, the Merritt Parkway and other state routes, such as Rt. 8 and Rt. 9

Republican lawmakers adamantly opposed tolls, calling them another tax.

“Between Greenwich and New Haven, there would be 12 tolls,” said State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton. “That would represent $200 a month out of someone’s income. It is a tax not a toll.”

But Democrats said the state’s transportation system is in dire need of the $600 million to $800 million tolls could bring in annually, noting that money can fix potholes, improve bridges and relieve congestion.

“There may never be a common ground,” said state Sen. Carlo Leone, D-Stamford. “But our infrastructure will suffer, and the worst scenario is lives could be at risk. Every time you see an out-of- state car go by throw a buck out the window because they are not contributing.”

The bill now moves to the House and is likely to be merged with other similar bills before final votes are taken.

bcummings@ctpost.com