Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-34) and State Representatives David Yaccarino (R-87), Vincent Candelora (R-86), and Joe Zullo (R-99) served as guest panelists Monday night at a “Tolls Informational Forum” at North Haven High School in which panelists and hosts presented the GOP alternative to tolling called “Prioritize Progress” that secures $65 billion dollars for transportation projects over the next 30 years without relying on tolls or tax increases.
This was the 17th forum since the start of the legislative session hosted by State Rep. Laura Devlin and Senator Henri Martin, the House and Senate Republican ranking members of the Transportation Committee.
In explaining the plan, which re-prioritizes funding from pet projects and other quasi-wants to fund infrastructure improvements, lawmakers noted that the plan operates within Connecticut’s new bond cap, borrowing no more than allowed under the cap. Last year, the bipartisan budget lawmakers placed a cap on state bonding. The full plan can be viewed here.
The majority of residents in attendance expressed their opposition to tolls and there were nearly 200 individuals in attendance.
“The governor and Democratic leaders are saying that tolls are the only way to fund our State’s transportation needs – this is false,” said Rep. Zullo. “Our proposal doesn’t call for tolls and allocates generous and necessary funding for transportation while still living within our state’s current fiscal means.”
“The current toll proposals,” Zullo added, “call for fifty plus tolls on every major highway in Connecticut and give unfettered discretion to DOT bureaucrats to increase rates and the number of gantries in the future.”
“Make no mistake, tolls are another tax on our residents. They’re a money grab and they will hurt working class families. Connecticut residents need to continue to speak out against tolls and contact their lawmakers to tell them to support our alternative to tolls.”
“The recent narrative surrounding tolls has been that tolls will solve all of our fiscal problems, but that is not the case,” said Rep. Yaccarino. “This is a money grab and an added tax on tax payers of this state. Implementing tolls would make Connecticut the highest taxed state. I was really pleased to see so many interested people show up to our informational toll forum.”
“We all believe transportation needs to be better funded in our state, but tolls are not a solution. Prioritize Progress is the only plan that would allow our state to start investing in transportation today,” said Sen. Fasano. “I want to thank everyone who came out to get the facts and learn about the other ways our state can make transportation a priority without asking for any more from taxpayers. If you oppose tolls, you need to make your voice heard. Call the governor, call legislative leaders and let them know how tolls would impact you and your family. The public’s voice has all the power to shape this debate.”