Connecticut lawmakers reviewed a bill for highway tolls on Thursday, and approved a study that would look at where to potentially put them.
The Transportation Committee met on Thursday, and ultimately voted to approve a study on where to put tolls in the state, 19 to 16. While the study would not guarantee tolls, some feel it paves the way.
Lawmakers have been reviewing the plan since last week.
Some Republicans view it as another tax and want to more clarification over where the tolls will go and how much drivers will be charged.
Backers of the plan, however, said drivers who pass through the state should pay for the roads they use.
Connecticut's transportation fund is running out of money, and the governor has pulled the plug on $4 billion worth of projects.
"Revenue for transportation is disappearing rapidly because the gas tax isn't generating as much revenue, because people are using less gas,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy.
There are more fuel efficient and electric cars.
Malloy supports tolls and so do many other Democrats.
Thirty percent of the traffic on CT roads comes from out of state, which takes its toll on everyone.
"We have to keep our infrastructure in good shape. It helps business. I hear from business all the time and they say how long it takes to get from point A to point B, a complaint about potholes,” said Democratic State Rep. Russ Morin, who sits on the Transportation Committee.
There are two proposals before the Transportation Committee. One would create a study to set up tolls on I-95, I-91, I-84, Wilbur Cross, and the Merritt Parkway.
Another deals with the tax on new cars. That would divert revenue from general fund to the transportation fund, starting with $60 million and with as much as $350 million over five years.
Senator Beth Bye, who is not on the transportation committee, voted in place of Senator Cusano who couldn't be there.
"I am very interested how this would be implemented at some point,” said Republican State Senator Toni Boucher, however that doesn't mean Boucher is for tolls.
She's been adamantly against them, but may consider hearing more.
"Even with a study, Connecticut already has such big obstacles financially for its residents and jobs and businesses. This would be just another overlay of costs for them to be in Connecticut,” Boucher said.
The Department of Transportation has been studying this but this bill would start a study with a cost of $4 million to $5 million.
Th bill now goes to the House for a full vote.
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