State Senator Rob Sampson Releases Toll Fact Sheet

March 25, 2019

No tolls

State Senator Rob Sampson Releases Toll Fact Sheet

Hartford—State Senator Rob Sampson has released a toll fact sheet for the benefit of his constituents.

People who support tolls often say:

1) Every other state around us has them so we should too.

2) How else are we going to fix our roads and bridges?

3) There is a transportation lockbox so they have to spend the money on the roads.

4) I have no problem paying for using the roads, so tolls are just a user fee.

Here are some facts:

1) The state of Connecticut takes in more money every year than the year before.  It just spends more also.

2) There are plenty of places to cut spending.  Consider the $500+ million we are spending to bail out the city of Hartford, $1.14 billion on illegal immigration, $45 million per year on the XL Center, or brass statues in New Haven, etc. etc.

3) The amount of money that has gone into the special transportation fund has been enough to give us the most state-of-the-art roads and bridges in the entire world, but sadly has not been spent on those things. Rather it has been siphoned off or “diverted” to the general fund to expand government.

4) The states that surround us do not charge anywhere near the same gasoline tax that Connecticut charges.  There are no plans to reduce Connecticut’s gasoline tax if tolls are installed.

5) Massachusetts in fact takes in less money in tolls than Connecticut takes in gas taxes that Massachusetts does not have.

6) Other states that have tolls have them only on one or two major highways.  Massachusetts for instance has them only on the Mass Pike.

7) Tolls cannot be installed only on the borders since that is against federal law.

8) The current plan for tolls would install a gantry every 6 miles on every major highway.   I’m sure you have seen the map that looks like the measles.  This would make us not only the most taxed state in the country but far and away the one with the most tolls per highway mile.

9) The federal government gives us a sizable amount of money for NOT having tolls.   That money has been misspent for decades.  Most recently, the New Britain Hartford busway project was funded in part by this allotment intended for the whole state of Connecticut.  This money is jeopardized by installing tolls.

10) It will take a minimum of three, and more likely 4–5 years to install tolls before they generate any positive revenue.  In the meantime, it will cost tens of millions of dollars in planning, construction, and setting up additional bureaucracy.

11) Once tolls are installed, we will only get a fraction of every dollar back since a significant amount of money will be lost in management, maintenance, collection of tolls, etc.

12) States that have electronic tolls have great difficulty collecting them from out-of-state residents since there is no mechanism to penalize drivers from other states unless there is a reciprocity agreement in place.  This would have to be negotiated and would ultimately cost Connecticut taxpayer dollars to enforce other states’ tolls.

13) Tolls will add costs to every product sold in our state.  This will affect the poorest among us, not to mention those on fixed incomes who are already having difficulty paying the highest electricity costs in the nation, and some of the highest property taxes anywhere.

14) The lockbox is a scheme to convince voters that toll money would go to fix roads and bridges and people would be more willing to accept tolls as a policy.

15) There is no such thing as a “secure” lockbox since the legislature makes this policy and can therefore modify it at any time.

16) The toll money will not go where it belongs. The people in charge would prefer to spend the money in ways that will politically benefit them. Governor Malloy inherited a $4 billion budget deficit and proceeded to raise taxes by $4 billion. However at the end of his first term, we were still in deficit for $4 billion because he spent an additional $4 billion by expanding government social programs and government benefits.

17) This out-of-control spending is what is causing people to leave, businesses to leave, and others to never begin at all.

The only way forward for Connecticut is economic growth. We need to adopt policies that make us competitive with surrounding states to encourage businesses and citizens to remain, and even move to Connecticut. This will grow our economy, increase revenue, and give us the ability to create a more prosperous state.   It will also give us the ability to improve our transportation infrastructure.

That is how we will be able to pay off our debt.  The problem is if we keep doing things to chase away citizens and businesses, our economy will only shrink and the tax burden will continue to rise, further damaging our chances to rebound.

The bottom line is that the state does not need any additional revenue, not for roads and bridges, or for anything else.  The state government must adapt to current tax revenues and no more.  Every state around us is managing with far less taxes per citizen.

What we need are leaders who know how to prioritize, and are willing to put the needs of the citizens ahead of their own quest for power.

Finally, I welcome questions and I will give you the most honest answers I can.   I have no interest in deceiving anyone.  I’m not against tolls simply to bash Democrats.  I am just against any more taxes or tolls because they are destroying the future prosperity of the state that I call home and love.

State Senator Rob Sampson