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Border communities balk at Connecticut tolls proposal

State lawmakers to business representatives appeared Wednesday before the legislature's Transportation Committee to oppose bills resurrecting tolls.  Among them was Danbury Senator Mike McLachlan who talked about shifting the burden of road repairs from over usage--to the municipalities.  He says it's similar to truckers, who go as far north as Route 55 in Sherman, to avoid the weigh station.

 

Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce president Steve Bull says Interstate 684's hairpin turn to I-84 is one of the most dangerous areas and would have to be fixed.  Bull says it's not surprising that people try to go through Ridgefield or other areas to avoid highway congestion, and more would do so in an effort to avoid a toll.

 

Bull says tolls along the state's borders would discourage out-of-state shoppers from coming to Connecticut. He said Danbury stores generate more than $5 billion in retail sales annually. The region reports $8 billion.  He says it's not just the mall that draws shoppers, it's the people coming to the big box stores like Walmart and Target or the wholesale stores like Costco and BJs, which aren't located in nearby Putnam County.

 

Bull says the bill an unsound effort to make someone else pay, in this case out of state travellers.  He says it unfairly catches Greater Danbury residents and businesses who must use the road on a daily basis.

 

Some lawmakers called border tolls an unfair burden on local taxpayers. One bill would provide them an income tax credit.

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Todd Schnitt

Local Headlines