HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A highway tolls proposal headed to the state House of Representatives and Senate after a key vote.
The proposal is one step closer to becoming a reality after the Finance Committee voted in favor of it on Wednesday.
Only Channel 3's cameras were rolling when the governor gave Democrats a pep talk on Wednesday evening, asking for their continued support.
"I’ll make my case loud and clear in terms of what we have to do going forward. We’re going to be raising money for this caucus, I’m going have the business guys coming in," Lamont said.
House and Senate members have been working with the Lamont administration and the Federal Highway Administration to craft the bill's language.
Lawmakers will ultimately have to approve the final bill.
There are still a number of unknowns.
The final number of toll gantries, their locations and discounts for Connecticut drivers are still being negotiated.
"Details definitely matter and I would think that details matter to the members of this caucus," said Sen. Len Fasano, a Republican. "Who's going to tell us where the tolls go? Who’s going to increase the tolls if they increase, how much are they going to charge? Those are all details that decide if you’re going to vote 'yes' or 'no.'"
"I understand that people are getting squeezed," Lamont said. "I know what that means. We've been very clear what we're going to try and do on that. We can give a credit on your easy pass so that everybody in the working families, we can preload that with $5 or $10 a month to make that easier for them."
On Thursday afternoon, Republicans once again attacked the governor's tolls plan.
"This notion that we are going to take a billion dollars in, and we don't know when its going to come in, we can't figure out who is going to be charged, and it won't start for four or five years," said Republican State Rep. and Minority Leader Themis Klarides.
They unveiled a five-step transportation improvement strategy that they say will fix CT's roads, bridges and rail, spark economic development, grow jobs, and improve quality of life.
The five major elements of the plan include: Immediately invest in infrastructure; identify needs & eliminate waste; develop long-term strategy & seek efficiencies; public private partnerships; address five worst bridges.
Read the full proposal here.
Lamont responded afterwards, saying "Today they came out with what they call a long-term plan. It said lets do a little more borrowing and then wait and see, lets do a little more borrowing and study this, lets do more borrowing and maybe talk to transportation and see what our needs are, prioritize the bridges. This is why people are so cynical."
The session ends in less than three weeks.
The House said it's possible there could be a vote on a final tolls proposal as early as next week.
Trust is an issue for some voters. While running for governor, Lamont said he would only toll trucks.
"You can always criticize and go after someone for the things that happened. We all know that it's politics, but the level of vulnerability and honesty this governor has shown, I am impressed by it," said Democratic State Rep. and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz.
Tolls would put some of the cost on out-of-state drivers
The Republican plan borrows $750 million, and CT residents would pay 100 percent of that.
However, Republicans said their plan makes money available sooner.