Sen. Kissel Strongly Opposes Proposal to Create Tolls on I-91

March 12, 2010

State Senator John A. Kissel (R-Enfield) today testified before the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee in opposition to HB 5474, An Act Concerning the Establishment of Electronic Tolls at the State’s Borders. The bill seeks to establish tolls at Connecticut’s borders to create a new revenue stream for the Connecticut Special Transportation Fund.

Senator Kissel who represents much of North Central Connecticut including the border towns of Suffield, Enfield, and Somers (all accessible by I-91) said he opposes the measure because it will create a parking lot in Enfield and have a negative impact on the local economy.

“People make decisions each and every day to save a few dollars, especially in this struggling economy,” said Sen. Kissel. “People work one, two, or even three jobs just to make ends meet. To assume they won’t change their driving patterns to save money is preposterous. In my neck of the woods, most people will take an additional five or ten minutes to save three dollars. What this means logistically is increased traffic on local roadways not designed to handle such a large volume. The traffic backups will be a nightmare not to mention cause damage to municipal roads.”

Senator Kissel also expressed concern that the tolls may deter out of state shoppers from contributing to the local economy.

“Enfield has a prosperous commercial district which is an invaluable resource,” said Sen. Kissel. “An awful lot of folks from Massachusetts come down to shop and I-91 is the link. Even a dollar toll would change traffic behavior and have a negative impact on Enfield and north central Connecticut as a whole. Now more than ever it is wrong to start charging people for coming into Connecticut.”

The bill is pending further action by the Transportation Committee before advancing in the legislative process.