Lawmakers to discuss giving the green light to or putting the br - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers to discuss giving the green light to or putting the brakes on tolls

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Connecticut is looking to implement an all-electronic tolling system similar to this one in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) Connecticut is looking to implement an all-electronic tolling system similar to this one in Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Republican senators are raising concerns about proposed highway tolls, saying there's no evidence they will generate revenue for Connecticut's transportation needs.

It’s been driving debate for years as the state grapples with ways to bring in more money to curb a growing budget deficit. Those against tolls argue that bringing them back is just another way to nickel and dime drivers and it’s not the solution to the state’s budget problems. However, those in favor argue it will bring in much-needed revenue to the state, especially from out-of-state drivers who pass through Connecticut.

A bill that could lead to electronic tolls in Connecticut was already passed by the General Assembly's Transportation Committee. 

Senate GOP leader Len Fasano explained Tuesday how Connecticut can only pursue congestion mitigation tolls. They're a way to manage traffic flows by charging a higher fee during the busiest drive times. The state cannot reinstate border tolls without putting federal funding at risk because of an agreement it signed with Washington 34 years ago.

Fasano says it would be dangerous to craft a new state budget that relies on toll revenue because no study has been conducted that proves they would generate a profit.

Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz says he believes tolls in Connecticut "are inevitable at some point" and will come up during budget negotiations. 

Massachusetts implemented electronic tolling last year. The state said it generates $400 million dollars per year through those tolls and people who live in the Massachusetts get a discount. New Jersey also has electronic tolls.

Connecticut did away with tolls in the 1980s, in part, after seven people were killed in a crash at a Stratford toll plaza.

Should Connecticut bring back tolls? Vote in our poll here.

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  • Web Poll

  • Should Connecticut bring back tolls?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Yes, those who use the highways should help pay for their upkeep.
    44%
    1078 votes
    No, people in Connecticut already pay enough.
    54%
    1351 votes
    I'm indifferent.
    2%
    60 votes
  • Lawmakers to discuss giving the green light to or putting the brakes on tolls