Sen. Martin on the Tolls Bill: “We need the facts and figures.”

February 3, 2020

Senator Henri Martin (R-31), Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, expressed disappointment in not getting specific answers to questions about Democrats’ tolls legislation during a Jan. 31 public hearing at the State Capitol Complex.

“This public hearing epitomizes why people do not trust their state government especially when it comes to the issue of tolls,” Sen. Martin said.  “How can we put people through a grueling hearing on a Friday night when the actual tolls bill will likely receive an emergency certification and lack any public input on the final product?  This is not how the State of Connecticut should do business.  These relentless attempts to skip the necessary governmental steps of vetting and discussion are disturbing.  Where is the transparency?”

After the third hour of the public hearing (which in total lasted over 9 hours) on the tolls proposal, Sen. Martin was rushed through his final interactions with officials from the governor’s budget office and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

“Taxpayers might find it hard to believe that I was only given access to the materials developed and presented by the governor’s representatives just before the tolls public hearing began,” Sen. Martin said.  “There was a large volume of information to digest and gain clarity on in my limited time to question state government agency officials.  These were the first data points provided to explain the rationale in a bill lacking many specifics on toll rates, the likelihood of tolls extending to cars and who will manage any changes to the original tolls plan.”

Senator Martin pressed the governor’s representatives to explain why tolls are needed to fund the needs of Connecticut’s transportation system.

“The legislature must look inward at the existing state budget to find better solutions to fix our transportation infrastructure.  We are already taxed enough,” said Sen. Martin.

Sen. Martin said he has been encouraged at the activism of area taxpayers.

“I thank every person who attended the Jan. 31 public hearing on tolls at the State Capitol Complex,” Sen. Martin said. “I commend all who submitted testimony and who have been calling their legislators to voice their opinion on this pivotal matter for Connecticut.  The fight is not over.  I will continue to stand up for transparency and for taxpayers.  This is about your government and your wallets.”

Majority Democrats and Governor Lamont continue to press for tolls, calling for a toll vote the week of Feb. 10th. Constituents are encouraged to continue their activism by contacting the democratic legislators to vote ‘No to Tolls”.  Call Connecticut Senate Democrats at 860-240-8600 and Connecticut House Democrats at 860-240-8500.