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Connecticut lawmakers pitch introducing highway tolls

State lawmakers are pitching the idea of introducing electronic tolls on Connecticut's highways.  Neighboring states all have tolls and lawmakers who spoke at a news conference Monday said they are needed locally to help pay for transportation projects.

Governor Malloy has stepped up warnings about the looming insolvency of the state's main transportation fund.

House chair of the Transportation Committee Antonio Guerrera says tolls would help to address the poor state of many roads and bridges.

Tolls were eliminated in Connecticut following a crash in Stratford that killed seven people in 1983.

 

After what Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton says was lawmakers misappropriating transportation funds for years to cover-up self-inflicted budget deficits, they now want to draw blood from a stone and impose yet another tax on Connecticut residents.

 

He called it a revenue grab to paper-over  fiscal mismanagement.

 

Boughton says culture of just throwing money at problems that has permeated the Malloy administration is what has been ailing the state, but didn't stop there.  He also brought up arguments that the income tax was going to solve budget woes in 1991.  

 

Transportation Committee Co-Chair Senator Toni Boucher opposes tolling, saying it's time for her colleagues to look at how transportation projects are prioritized, budgeted, and monitored.  She added that asking taxpayers for more money without a thorough accounting of how it is spent is irresponsible.  Boucher claims transportation projects in Connecticut have some of the highest administrative costs in the nation.

 

When it comes to answers given during yesterday's announcement about legislators no longer siphoning money out of the fund, Boucher was critical.  She says taxpayers believe it will be more of the same when Guerrera noted that diverting funds is the problem, but the solution is generating money from other sources.

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