AP NEWS

Republicans stand united against tolls

March 5, 2019

HARTFORD — Minority Republicans staged an anti-toll news conference on Tuesday, promising that any bill that would approve electronic highway tollings would meet their staunch opposition.

House and Senate Republicans challenged Gov. Ned Lamont’s contention that 40 percent of toll revenue would come from out-of-staters, and said that out-of-state drivers would also be eligible to purchase transponders, under federal law that allows more than 14 percent of Massachusetts transponders have been purchased by non-state residents.

House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said that the goal of Lamont and Democrats is to generate a billion dollars in annual revenue. They promised to fight for commuters and working people.

“These are people who fight for every dime they have,” Klarides said, promoting a previous GOP plan to prioritize transportation infrastructure spending.

In response, Maribel La Luz, Lamont’s director of communications, said that the Republican plan is supported by a borrowing scheme that just pushes out the state’s fiscal problems further into the future.

“There’s agreement from everyone about two things: our transportation system needs enhancements and upgrades because it’s too congested and inhibits our growth, and Connecticut residents should be the least burdened,” La Luz said. “To address this, the Governor is proposing a user fee on our major highways where at least 40% would be paid by out-of-state commuters. Every other state around us has figured this out, so can Connecticut.”

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT