Photo of Senator Leone.

State Senator

Carlo Leone

Representing Stamford & Darien

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Leone, Transportation Committee Create Two-Step Process for State Infrastructure Improvements, Including Tolls

On the last day for the legislature’s Transportation Committee to vote on its 2018 bills, state Senator Carlo Leone, (D-Stamford), supported a bill that gives the state Department of Transportation nearly a year to conduct necessary environmental studies and then determine that if the legislature ultimately votes to approve automobile tolls on public roads, where would those tolls be located?

“This is a bill that we had to pass if—and until—we come up with another, ongoing revenue stream to pay for infrastructure projects around the state,” said Sen. Leone, who is Senate Co-Chair of the Transportation Committee. “This is the direction we have to head in. With low gas prices, more fuel-efficient vehicles, more people using public transportation and an increase in the use of electric vehicles, Connecticut is losing money every year in our Special Transportation Fund—and the federal government is doing very little to help. We need to turn this situation around very quickly.”

House Bill 5391, “An Act Concerning Transportation Infrastructure,” directs the state DOT to conduct environmental studies associated with the potential installation of toll gantries, and to prepare a tolling proposal that identifies which Connecticut roads could be tolled, including amounts charged, potential discounts, and any use of so-called ‘dynamic pricing,’ where toll prices are based on current traffic conditions.

“Democrats on the Transportation Committee worked very hard to craft a bill that addressed many of the concerns that were raised during the public hearing and in discussions with committee members themselves,” Sen. Leone said. “Even so, for the detractors it was not enough, and whatever we do to compromise will never be enough. But we’re in a transportation crisis in Connecticut and across the country, and our responsibility is to act, not to shirk our duty.”

The bill, which late Thursday before all votes were tallied was expected to pass on a 19-17 party-line vote, now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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