Myths And Facts About Tolls

March 27, 2018

With all of the myths and misconceptions about what the implementation of tolls will mean for Connecticut, today’s tolls are not the dangerous, traffic-jamming devices of the past, and funds collected through tolls must be spent on transportation related expenses as per federal law. Read on for more information.

Myth: “Federal Guidelines Will Not Allow Tolls”

FACT: Federal laws allow tolling on Interstate highways under several different provisions and special programs. One option available to CT is the Value Pricing Pilot (VPP) program. CT is one of 15 states designated by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to be able to use this provision to implement tolls.

Myth: “A Study Should Be Done First”

FACT: Implementing tolls is like implementing any capital project for CTDOT. Environmental approvals, rights-of-way, design, and federal approval all have to be completed before putting a transportation project out to bid. This happens before implementation and operation.

Myth: “If CT Reinstitutes Tolls On I-95 Would Ct Be Required To Repay the FHWA For Federal Funds

Received For I-95 Since The Removal Of Tolls”

FACT: Repayment would not be required if CT restores tolling under the terms of the VPP Program, or any other current Federal tolling program.

Myth: “The State Will Lose Federal-Aid Formula Funds For Any Section Of Highway That Is Part Of

The Tolling System”

FACT: Should CT decide to toll a highway under the VPP program – or any authorized FHWA tolling program under current law – CT will NOT receive less highway funding as a result. In fact, CT might be able to take credit for its new toll highway expenditures as a “soft match” for Federal-aid funds spent elsewhere in its program.

Myth: “No Proof Tolls Would Raise Enough Revenue”

FACT: CTDOT conducted two detailed studies under the VPP program, and the analyses demonstrated that tolling in congested corridors could raise substantial revenue as well as help reduce congestion. For example, it is estimated that tolls along I-95 and Route 15 from NY to New Haven would generate net revenues of about $366 million annually.

Myth: “Toll Money Will Be Used For Non-Transportation Related Expenses”

FACT: Both Federal and state law restrict the use of toll revenue to specified transportation-related purposes. For example, under federal law, toll revenue must be used first on the facility being tolled, including (1) debt service for the tolled road; (2) a reasonable return on investment of any private person financing the road; (3) road maintenance, operating, and improvement costs; and (4) if applicable, payments that the entity that controls tolling revenue owes to another party under a public-private partnership agreement (23 U.S.C. § 129(a)(3)(A)).

FACT: The toll system will be an all-electronic system, similar to the one recently installed on the Mass Pike. These electronic systems use EZPass readers and cameras mounted on a gantry that spans over the highway (pictured below are examples). This eliminates traffic delays and accidents common to old toll booth collection systems.

FACT: Out-of-State drivers will no longer get a free ride while driving through our state. 30% of toll revenues would be paid by out- of state drivers. Allowing out-of-state drivers to help shoulder the burden of the roads and bridges they also use.

FACT: Unlike the gas tax, tolls offer a sustainable long-term solution for funding Connecticut’s future transportation system. A sustainable funding solution for our transportation system will mean improvement projects will move forward, leading to better and safer commute times for travelers.