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News Mar 20, 2011 - 11:58 AM

‘Quick fix’ takes a serious toll on Connecticut roads

By Connecticut House Republicans

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“While I have sympathy for my colleagues who are waiting on improvements to their local highways, tolls are not the best solution to getting these projects off the ground,” said State Representative Michael L. Molgano (R-144) as he joined other Republican legislators in voting against HB 6200, which would allow tolls to be reestablished in Connecticut.

As a Stamford native, Molgano is no stranger to congested highways, and putting even more obstacles in the way of Connecticut drivers needs to be considered very carefully.

There are a lot of regulations and complications that limit the potential revenue that would be generated by toll booths. Toll revenue can only be used to improve the road on which they are located, and federal law requires that tolls are only located on non-interstate expressways. So interstates like 84, 91 and 95 would not benefit from tolls.

Routes 7, 8, and 25 only see a fraction of the traffic flow that our area interstates experience every day, and drivers would be even further discouraged to use these roads. That would make it difficult for tolls to even be able to recoup the operational costs let alone produce the necessary funds for improvements.

While electronic tolling devices can help drivers maintain speed at toll booths and not necessitate booths to be manned around the clock, not all drivers will have access to that technology. Are we as a state going to force every driver to have an E-Z Pass in their vehicle? I am hesitant to support such a measure.

Rep. Molgano asked, “As residents prepare for a whole list of new taxes and fees, how can we make it tougher for people to get to school or work?”

“Though the bill describes the toll booths as a temporary measure, how can we promise to someday cut a source of revenue? Approving tolls would open a Pandora’s box of potential booth locations.”

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