Following is a letter sent to Gov. Malloy after he announced plans to pay for a study to bring tolls back to CT. (As you may know Malloy is NOT seeking re-election and the toll decision will be made after he is gone for good.)
Dear Governor Malloy,
We write to urge you to reconsider your proposed use of taxpayer dollars to fund a study of tolls.
Advocates for tolls in the current General Assembly have been unable to garner enough votes to allow tolls back into Connecticut. As you well know, the composition of the General Assembly and the governor’s office will be different in a few short months. The planning and preparation for tolls as described in your recent Executive Order, including environmental analysis, implies that the return of tolls is inevitable. The reality is that the coming election casts even greater doubt on the likelihood of tolls gaining sufficient support.
Your proposal to spend $10 million of taxpayer money on a study of tolls without approval from the legislature is a blatant circumvention of our Democratic process. It is also a complete waste of money that could be used to actually improve roads, fix bridges, and, generally, to address our transportation infrastructure needs – an undertaking that is supported by the legislature as a whole.
While we may not know the granular details of a plan for tolls, the preamble of your Executive Order identifies the financial challenge of the Special Transportation Fund and the state’s transportation infrastructure. We know that tolls cannot legally be implemented solely at our state borders to catch non-resident travelers. Tolls will be spread throughout the state, impacting every commuter and costing residents hundreds of millions of dollars.
For us, as Republicans, that is enough to know that we need to find another way to pay for the necessary improvements in our transportation infrastructure. Fortunately, as you are well aware, we have developed an alternative to tolls. We have shared all of the details of our plan with you and your fellow Democrats. The concept is fairly simple: Under your administration, General Obligation borrowing has increased dramatically. Our plan would take the recent increased funding for general purposes and, instead, dedicate the funding to cover the cost of transportation borrowing.
Therefore, we are urging you to reconsider your proposal to seek a $10 million bond allocation for a study of tolls at the next State Bond Commission meeting. Please do not include this as an item on the agenda. Again, there will be a new legislature and a new Governor six months from tomorrow. Let them determine whether or not the state should bring back tolls.
Republicans have begun the process of obtaining signatures for a petition to bring the legislature in for a special session in the event that the Bond Commission approves this item. We hope that enough Democrats will join us in supporting a special session to pass a bill that will prevent your administration from spending any additional money evaluating a plan for tolls.
Representative Themis Klarides, House Republican Leader Ranking Member
Representative Christopher Davis, Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee