Talking Tolls on WDRC

March 28, 2017

I joined Brad Davis and Dan Lovallo on WDRC to talk electronic tolls. The electronic tolls I am proposing are not your parent’s tolls...or even your older sibling’s. Electronic tolls no longer present a danger to drivers due to the introduction of overhead electronic toll gantries. Today’s electronic tolls are fast, easy and safe.

Electronic tolls are simply transponders on the road that communicate with a transponder in your vehicle. You drive by the transponder, at highway speeds, and you are charged a toll. If you don’t have a transponder in your car, a photo of your license plate is taken and you will be billed by mail.

The fact is, our roads and bridges are decaying and the money in the state’s Special Transportation Fund (STF) is drying up. We are standing on the precipice of tragedy.

STF will be insolvent in 3-5 years.

Over the course of 30 years, electronic tolls on our highways could raise $22 billion. With electronic tolls we could have a dedicated revenue stream to lock away in the STF and ensure funding for our roads and bridges for decades to come.

Cars and trucks drive straight through our state every day.  Thousands of vehicles from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and on and on – they just drive through. They don’t fill up with gas (gas tax). They don’t stop at our stores (sales tax). They just drive through. More than 30 percent of the vehicles on our highways are from out of state. Shouldn’t these out of state drivers pay for the roads they are using?

An electronic toll is a user fee, not a tax. If you don’t use toll roads, you don’t pay. It ensures that all highway users are paying for the repairs and investment in our state’s infrastructure. Electronic tolling will allow us to provide state residents with a discount or lower rates for traveling at off-peak hours.

With electronic tolling, Connecticut would go from having one of the highest gas taxes in the nation to one of the lowest. The revenue would mean a 2.5 cent-per-gallon drop in the gas tax.