Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced this week that his state would be standing down from their plan to implement truck only tolls. The move by Lamont came as a surprise even to those in his own party. But while the tolls are gone for now, some lawmakers expect that they’ll be back again soon.
Lamont campaigned on a promise to toll trucks as a way of filling the holes in the state’s infrastructure funding. While he waffled back and forth on whether the tolls would be for cars and trucks, just trucks, or mostly trucks, the most recent plan was to force truckers to be solely responsible for financing $19.4 billion in infrastructure investment.
During a press conference on Wednesday, February 19th, Lamont announced that he was abandoning the plan. Lamont placed the blame for the decision squarely on the shoulders of state lawmakers. The governor told reporters that he was tired of waiting for the state Legislature to give him the votes he needed for the bill.
“I think it’s time to take a pause,” Lamont said according to Transport Topics. “I’ve got a Legislature that doesn’t want to make a choice. This is a place that specializes in kicking the can down the road, and I don’t accept it.”
State lawmakers meanwhile told reporters that they were about five days out from holding the vote that Lamont had been waiting for. They even said that they were confident that they had the votes to pass the truck-only tolling legislation.
Instead of pursuing tolling, Lamont plans to pay for $200 million in transportation infrastructure repairs by taking on debt through bonding.
But $200 million is a far cry from $19.4 billion. And just because the tolls are dead for now, doesn’t mean they won’t come back.
“Nothing’s dead in this building,” Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano said according to NBC New York. “Back up again this session? I might be a little bit surprised. Back up again in 2021, I think you could probably bank on it.”