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DOT Study Says Statewide Tolling Could Generate $1B a Year, 60% From In-State

November 16, 2018 By Staff
DOT Study Says Statewide Tolling Could Generate $1B a Year, 60% From In-State

The 87-page study from the Department of Transportation is making waves, though whether Governor-Elect Ned Lamont and the Democratic legislature take up the plan is another question entirely.

This week, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) released a comprehensive 87-page report examining what a statewide tolling system would look like.

Some of DOT’s key takeaways?

  • A statewide tolling system would cover I-95, I-84, I-91, I-395, I-691, I-291, Route 15, Route 8, Route 2, and Route 9, and include “82 overhead gantries”
  • The 50-mile trip cost on E-Zpass would be $1.75, which DOT reports is less than a 50-mile trip cost on the New Jersey Turnpike ($6.02) and the Garden State Parkway ($4.34), among others
  • The statewide tolling system would bring in $1.086 billion in gross annual tolling revenue; nearly 60 percent (59.4 percent) of that revenue would be paid by Connecticut drivers, while 40.6 percent would be paid by out-of-state drivers
  • Revenue “would be dedicated to the maintenance, repair and improvement of Connecticut’s transportation network”

According to the Hartford Courant, the DOT proposal may be dead on arrival with Governor-Elect Ned Lamont. The incoming governor’s spokeswoman said Lamont is sticking to his campaign promise “not to toll personal vehicles.”

Governor-elect Ned Lamont campaigned on limited tolling, which he said would extend only to tractor-trailers. Tolls, and the economic impact on the state, were frequently debated during the gubernatorial campaign. Projected state deficits could run as high as $4.4 billion over the next two fiscal years.

“Gov.-elect Lamont stands by his campaign promise not to toll personal vehicles, but to join our neighboring states in tolling heavy trucks given the significant damage they do to our roads and bridges,” Lamont spokeswomen Lacey Rose said. “This study confirms the Gov.-elect’s projection that tolling trucks would generate significant revenue that can be used to support Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure.”

Based on DOT’s study, tolling trucks only would result in around $314 million a year in revenue (29 percent of $1.086 billion). Tolling out-of-state trucks only would result in just $145 million a year in revenue (46 percent of 29 percent of $1.086 billion).

There may be more enthusiasm among the Democratic legislature for DOT’s tolling plan, given the legislature’s leaders have all expressed openness to tolls.

If past is prologue, Republicans will oppose any efforts to reinstate tolls on Connecticut roads. With diminished minorities in both chambers of the legislature, though, the GOP may have few opportunities to block proposals in 2019. Stay tuned.