WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) - On Wednesday, three bills to allow tolls passed through their committees.

Lawmakers and homeowners on both sides of the debate tolls view this issue in completely different ways.

Supporters feel that tolls are the best way to fix our state’s ailing roads and bridges, but critics feel like the residents are already overtaxed in this state and tolls would only lighten our wallets even more.

Even from high above Waterbury’s Mixmaster, the ugly truth that it needs repairs is obvious.

Mayor Neil O’Leary says the series of bridges and ramps is just one example that proves Governor Ned Lamont is right to push for tolls!

“All of these infrastructure issues are decades in the making and I am grateful quite frankly again that someone has the courage to address these issues that are vitally important to cities like Waterbury,” said O’Leary.

Lamont says placing 53 toll locations on these 4 highways could raise 800 million dollars to help fix state roads and bridges, but critics like state Senator Rob Sampson say the plan is short sighted.

“The answers to all of Connecticut’s problems is economic growth,” said Sampson.

Sampson argues taking more money from state tax payers is wrong. Instead the governor should focus on increasing the tax base by taking steps to entice businesses and people to move here.

“If we don’t do something to attract businesses and people and let them know that this is a welcoming place for them to live work run a business and retire it’s going to continue a downward spiral,” Sampson said.

On Thursday evening, Sampson and other Republican lawmakers held a tolls forum at Crosby High School in Waterbury.

Most of the people who attended, like Donna Cody are against tolls.

“We just pay too much as it is. We have had taxes income taxes, taxes on our real estate our property, it’s just been spent wrong and why give us more why put more burden on the public,” said Cody.

The Department of Transpiration estimates tolls could potentially cost drivers about 3 to 5 cents per mile but some folks at the forum like Thomas Yates feel any financial pain would be worth it in the end if it led to better roads and bridges.

“It’s not a tax it’s a user fee if you’re not on the highway you’re not paying for it, so you may be inconvenienced but if you have easy pass it’s cheaper in the long run,” Yates said.

In the end Cody, Yates, Sampson and O’Leary do see eye to eye on one thing, the recent increased public activism at forums like this one is a positive.

Tolls won’t be coming to the state anytime soon.

The DOT says the earliest tolls could arrive is 2023.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(5) comments

Flyboyinct

I have had it with this state...I am in the process of selling my 31 year old company and moving out of here. Taxes, utilities, WC insurance, liability insurance, healthcare insurance, etc. are ridiculous. Plus, we get very little return on our investment. I can't wait to sell and take my money to Florida. I'll refuse to let CT get any more blood money from me. The questions at hand should be, where the heck did all our tax dollars get wasted????

Truthseeker

"There are plenty of other things they can do like cut legislature and government spending cut out their trips and health insurance, pensions like they do to the working class of people." This is the problem in CT and with the FEDs. Take the million-heir benefit way from the politician's, and you see the corrupt ones leave to go back to normal criminal activity. After that you be able to vote in people who will represent us and not themselves. All current problems will go away.

DOGSRGRT

No businesses are going to move into CT for the simple fact that we have a very high tax bracket and now things are getting worse with Lamont in office he is adding tolls well there goes CT even less business cause people are not going to come to CT to go even to casinos with all these taxes and tolls. Also I have to say I am ashamed at the lawmakers to tax vet services for animals, it is hard enough for people to pay their vet bills for their furry friends as it is the costs so high and now it is going to have more poor animals suffer because of the tax, we don't tax medical services for people these are medical services for animals and who the heck in their right mind would vote yes to this. Medical services for people and animals should not be taxes. There are plenty of other things they can do like cut legislature and government spending cut out their trips and health insurance, pensions like they do to the working class of people.

nelly

$$$

jasper

Drastically cut ALL state employees pensions.

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