Controversial Transportation Bills Gain Momentum

March 18, 2015

Frantz: Tolls are not the answer.

Hartford, CT – State Senator Scott Frantz (R-Greenwich) released the following statement on several bills that passed out of the general assembly’s Transportation Committee today. The revised bills involve several ideas including a lock box for special transportation funds, parking fees at commuter lots, taking of intangible property as a function of eminent domain and the “development of a program to establish, or commence” tolls around the entire state.

“The big question is how do you pay for necessary repairs of the state’s transportation infrastructure needs? For example there are several ancient bridges – more than 100 years old – the Walk Bridge in Norwalk in particular that are in need of billions of dollars in upgrades.

“There are no easy answers. A new revenue stream would be great, but tolling at the end of the day is another form of taxation. It is not a cost effective way to come up with revenue to take care of our infrastructure needs.

“We need to look at a better way to pay for infrastructure maintenance and repairs. Recently, Republicans proposed a plan to reserve a set amount of general obligation bonds to be used solely for transportation projects. The plan starts with $441.5 million in the upcoming 2016 fiscal year. It also recommends the state continue to issue an average of $600 million in special tax-backed bonds that are used to fund the Department of Transportation’s capital program.

“This combination of bonding will provide a predictable and sustainable funding stream of $1 billion a year for road, bridge, rail, bus and port improvements for 30 years. The plan also proposes to re-establish the Transportation Strategy Board to identify the most urgent needs and rank projects for funding.

“Including looking into why some of these massive transportation projects are going to cost so much? Can we restructure the projects so they aren’t so expensive?

“Tolls are not the answer and will only add to the costly burdens of living life in Connecticut.”

Senator Frantz is supportive of a measure to “lock the box” on any revenue put into the Special Transportation Fund for roads, bridges and rail.

Senator Frantz is a member of the Transportation Committee.