State Rep. floats eliminating local aid for anti-toll cities

February 25, 2019

STAMFORD — A state representative from Hartford took a bold tactic on Sunday in defense of a proposed plan to return tolls to state highways: cutting local aid to any communities that oppose it.

In a tweet posted over the weekend, state Rep. Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, wrote: “Here’s an idea. Every town that passes an anti-toll resolution gets their Town Aid Road, LOCIP and any other state aid for infrastructure eliminated. Cool?”

The acronym LOCIP refers to local capital improvement program.

Rojas is co-chair of the state’s Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee.

Some local representatives in Stamford, where an anti-toll resolution will go before the full Board of Representatives, were miffed by the tweet.

Steve Kolenberg, a member of the Stamford Board of Representatives who co-authored a resolution against tolls, said such a response is exactly why he doesn’t have faith in the state’s plan.

“It just proves to me that we can’t trust Hartford with the revenue that’s going to be collected for tolls,” Kolenberg said. “If they’re willing to get so petty because our resolution hurt their feelings, it just hammers home what we’ve been saying all along.”

Jeff Stella, a Democratic member of the Stamford Board of Representatives, is opposed to tolls, and responded on Twitter that Rojas should represent the people of the state, and those people have a right to voice their opinion.

Response on Twitter was overwhelmingly negative to Rojas’ tweet, but his post had been liked by state Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, and state Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Hartford.

Besides Stamford, the town of Enfield also debated a resolution against tolls. By a vote of 6-4, the town passed the anti-toll resolution, which has no legal impact, but is meant to send a message to the Capitol.