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Toll Foes Deliver 100,000 Petition Signatures to Governor

Toll Foes Deliver 100,000 Petition Signatures to Governor

Hartford Courant, May 9, 2019

By Neil Vigdor

And you thought the Mueller report was dense reading.

The group No Tolls CT is preparing to deliver five stacks of petitions -- each larger than a phone book -- containing 100,000 signatures to the office of Gov. Ned Lamont Thursday.

“No Tolls CT has invited the governor to meet with them to deliver the petition, but his office has yet to respond,” the group said Wednesday.

Lamont spokeswoman Maribel La Luz disputed the group’s claim that the governor’s office hasn’t been responsive, saying that Lamont’s chief of staff, Ryan Drajewicz, reached out to the group’s founder, Patrick Sasser, on Tuesday night, again Wednesday morning and offered to meet with Sasser Thursday at the Capitol.

“We know that the No Tolls group feels passionately about this issue. So does Gov. Lamont. But people who signed these petitions aren’t saying ‘no’ to tolls -- what they’re actually saying yes to taking out a $30 billion loan, as proposed by the Republicans, recklessly adding to the state’s deficits and requiring Connecticut taxpayers to foot 100 percent of the bill-plus interest,” La Luz said. “In contrast, the governor’s plan ensures 40 percent of the bill will be paid by out-of-state drivers. That’s why the governor’s proposal is supported by a broad coalition of local, business, labor and legislative leaders and provides a reliable, sustainable path forward for Connecticut.” 

Pragmatic solution back to top

Toll foes are girding up for the final four weeks of the legislative session to try to block a contentious plan and signature policy initiative of Lamont to install tolls on Interstates 91, 84, 95 and Route 15.

The governor says it’s the most pragmatic and equitable solution to raising revenue for Connecticut’s crumbling and gridlocked transportation infrastructure. His administration has estimated that tolls on all vehicles -- a reversal of his campaign pledge to toll just out-of-state trucks -- will raise $800 million a year.

Toll proponents say that 40 percent of the money collected will come from out-of-state drivers, something that no competing alternative can offer, including a Republican proposal known as Prioritize Progress. The GOP plan relies exclusively on borrowing money by reallocating money from other construction projects, such as schools.

Opponents of tolls will hold a protest outside the Capitol May 18.