Removal of Legislative Oversight Prompts Sen. Boucher’s No Vote on Tolls

March 23, 2018

Hartford – Transportation Committee Co-Chair State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) today said she will continue to fight against each of the toll bills that passed the legislature’s Transportation Committee. In each proposal, final control of future placement and rates for tolls would circumvent the legislature.

“When it comes to something this big, something that would have a monumental cost and impact on taxpayers, I believe we should keep the decision making closest to those who are closest to, and answerable to the public,” Sen. Boucher said. She added that some of the bills before the committee appeared to be an attempt to remove legislators’ fingerprints from a controversial issue.

“We were elected to be decision-makers and to be held accountable for those decisions,” she said. “As we’ve seen with the state’s bus and rail systems, when decisions are made by bureaucrats, they don’t bat an eye about increasing fare rates.”

Sen. Boucher said she also could not vote for any measures that require Connecticut drivers to pay even more to the state without reducing or eliminating costs like the gas tax, car property tax, inheritance tax, and income tax.

“People keep saying that all the state around us have tolls,” she said. “We haven’t recovered from the recession. Our neighbors with tolls have recovered.

“Why is Connecticut in such bad shape?” she asked. “We have made it unaffordable. Those states do not have a gas tax that is a percentage. Those states do not have an income tax that does not allow for any deductions. Those states do not have a property tax on cars.”

Sen. Boucher said she is particularly concerned by House Bill 5391: An Act Concerning Transportation Infrastructure.  The bill provides the possibility for a toll plan to be enacted without a vote by the legislature.

“The language in this bill states that a proposal from a Transportation Authority would be deemed approved if not acted upon by the legislature within a short period of time,” she said. “It also established that a second proposal will be created if the first is voted down by the legislature. If no action is taken on the second try within a small window of time, again it is deemed approved. Not taking action on a plan should not guarantee its approval.”

The House and Senate must still approve the bills before they can become law. Sen. Boucher said she would continue efforts to encourage her colleagues to vote against them.

Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.