Republicans vow to fight Malloy panel on taxes and tolls

January 19, 2016


FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) – An advisory panel convened by Governor Dannel Malloy that highway tolls and higher taxes are the way to pay for transportation improvements. The Governor is calling for a 30-year, $100 billion overhaul of the state’s roads and bridges.

If you thought Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot was big with a $1.5 billion payout over 30 years, Governor Malloy has a plan to spend $100 billion on transportation infrastructure over the next 30 years. That’s like winning Powerball 67 times, and Republicans say he better start buying lottery tickets, because they will fight any tolls and taxes to get that money.

That advisory panel recommends putting electronic tolls on Connecticut roads, a half percent increase in the sales tax, and raising the gas tax from 25 cents a gallon to a whopping 39 cents. Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) is the ranking member of the transportation committee and calls the Governor’s plan a “wish list” that fixes things that are not necessarily broken.

“Connecticut’s current bonding capacity is more than enough,” said Sen. Boucher. “We could add $500 million of just Connecticut money to improving our infrastructure if they re-prioritize what they have.”

Tolls and taxes have to be voted on by the legislature, and the Democrats in charge say no voting will happen until after the November elections. They say the delay is because there will be an amendment on the ballot then that will put toll and gas tax money in a “lockbox” so it can’t be used for anything but transportation. Boucher says the delay is for political reasons.

“Which obviously shows just how unpopular that this is, and that they don’t want to threaten their members with a loss in the November elections by proposing this,” Boucher said.

Governor Malloy has always said Connecticut’s gasoline tax is so high because we don’t have tolls like surrounding states, but Republicans point out this proposal would not only add tolls, but also raise the gasoline tax.