Sen. Hwang Statement on Gov. Lamont’s Westport Toll Town Hall

January 12, 2020

Westport State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) released the following statement regarding the Democrat toll town hall event held by Governor Ned Lamont to rally support for his un-released tolls legislation today in Westport. Republican lawmakers were not invited to participate in the panel discussion and details of the Democrat toll plan are still being withheld from Republican lawmakers and members of the public.

“I am always supportive of open discussion and debate, but today’s event was sadly never about that. Gov. Lamont has apparently already decided what the tolls bill should look like, with the media reporting on those details on Friday after obtaining a leaked copy. This meeting was never about listening to the people of Westport and the surrounding communities or getting all sides together for an open and honest conversation. It was about selling his idea and pushing his idea only to likeminded individuals.

“Obviously the Governor and Democrat legislative leaders lack confidence in those ideas because they still won’t even allow the public an opportunity to view all the details at the same time they are calling for a vote in just a few days. People don’t trust the Democrat administrations that have been in control of our state because far too many promises have been broken before. While we still don’t have the full details, sadly, what we do know about the tolls bill is from press investigations that we will one day wake up to tolls on everyone and many other unintended and wide-reaching implications if this bill passes as written. It will give powers to the CT DOT to raise rates without legislative approval, cowardly taking the responsibility off lawmakers so they don’t have to answer nor be accountable to their constituents. The lack of transparency in this roll out only further damages public trust and the inherent flaw of this partisan push for tolls.

“I have opposed various toll proposals due to lack of trust, transparency and demonstrated accountability of taxpayer funds. The current proposal to toll only trucks is simply a political trojan horse to eventually levy tolls to all types of vehicles, intended to increase revenue sources for uncontrolled government spending, not just for transportation infrastructure improvements.

“Republicans and Democrats all agree that our transportation infrastructure is critical for improving our economic and quality of life standards in Connecticut. However, we disagree on how taxpayers, businesses and commuters should pay for it. Along with my fellow Republican lawmakers I’ve offered an alternative to tolls and strongly believe that it can offer a path to a bipartisan solution to address the concerns of all CT residents.  If we are to restore public trust, we need a bipartisan commitment to fund transportation priorities and practical discipline in prioritizing our governmental budgeting and spending so we can create a sustainable infrastructure improvement program into the future. Unfortunately, lack of transparency surrounding the latest toll proposal and today’s event further hinders efforts to truly represent the best interest of all Connecticut residents.”