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TOLL WATCH: Will Enough House Dems Vote Down Tolls Today?

May 2, 2018 By Staff
TOLL WATCH: Will Enough House Dems Vote Down Tolls Today?

With every House Republican likely to oppose the tolls bill, the impetus is on moderate House Democrats to defeat the bill. If it passes, Connecticut is just two steps away from reinstating tolls.

The Connecticut House of Representatives is likely to vote on a tolls bill on Wednesday. Even though all 71 House Republicans are likely to vote against tolls, the Democrats’ 79-71 advantage in the House means at least five Democrats have to vote against tolls to ensure their defeat.

Will enough Democrats buck party leadership and vote against tolls? The odds are looking slim as of Wednesday morning. As readers may recall, every Democrat on the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee (26 of them in all) voted in favor of the governor’s tolls bill in April.

The committee voted 26-25 to release a “Joint Favorable” report on H.B. No. 5046, “AN ACT CONCERNING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS,” better known as the governor’s toll bill.

All 26 “Yea” votes were from Democrats on the committee. All 25 “Nay” votes were from Republicans on the committee.

As Reclaim Connecticut reported Tuesday, the Democrats’ closing argument appears to be that Connecticut drivers will receive a discount. But we pointed out, as well, that Connecticut drivers could still be stuck with a few billion dollars in taxes and tolls over 10 years, if the governor’s plan goes into effect.

If tolls pass, and are implemented as the document suggests, then perhaps Connecticut drivers will ‘only’ pay a few billion dollars in effective new taxes and tolls over 10 years, rather than the $4 billion to $5 billion Reclaim Connecticut has projected. Connecticut Democrats who want tolls may be depending on that argument.

If the bill passes the House, it then moves to the Senate. Passage will be more difficult in the upper chamber, given Republicans control half of the Senate (18 of 36 seats) and have occasionally won the support of a few moderate Democrats on major bills.

If the bill happens to pass the Senate, though, it appears highly likely Gov. Dan Malloy (D-Conn.) would sign the bill into law, effectively reinstating tolls in the state.