Letter: Road improvements don’t need tolls

May 21, 2018

Letter to the Editor as it appeared in Hearst Connecticut Newspapers

Hearst Connecticut Media recently criticized the legislature for not taking action to implement tolls, appearing to argue that tolls are the only solution to the state’s infrastructure problems [“Collegial Ending” 5/11/18].

The newspapers failed to recognize that there is an alternative to properly fund our roads and bridges that doesn’t involve tax increases or tolls.

Over three years ago, Republican lawmakers in Connecticut first proposed a plan to make transportation a priority using current state resources. Our proposal, “Prioritize Progress,” would create a dedicated stream of long-term infrastructure funding totaling an estimated $64 billion over 30 years without tolls or new taxes.

It works by reducing bonding for pet projects and political handouts and requires Connecticut to prioritize funding for transportation within the state’s new bond cap, leverage federal dollars and upholding our commitment to fix transit needs without adding new burdens onto future generations.

In the bipartisan budget that passed last week, lawmakers were able to finally implement a small piece of this proposal. The budget also stabilizes the Special Transportation Fund (STF) by dedicating car-related revenue to the fund resulting in STF surpluses over the next five years.

This is a major step forward, and it did not require tolls or a gas tax increase.

Budgeting is about priorities. We can improve our roads, bridges and transit without burdening residents even more, but we have to be willing to make it a priority. In budget negotiations, Republicans successfully fought for a plan that finally begins to start moving us in the right direction, without tolls stopping us along the way.

Len Fasano

The writer serves as Senate Republican President Pro Tempore. He serves the 34th Senate District including Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford.