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Norwalk Republicans voice outrage over Malloy’s bond funded-toll study

NORWALK, Conn. — Two of Norwalk’s Republican candidates for the state house have announced objections to Gov. Dannel Malloy’s plan to spend $10 million in borrowed funds to study electronic tolls.

Marc D’Amelio, who is seeking to unseat State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25), and Frank Page, who is taking on State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137), have both issued press releases condemning the move.

“This needless borrowing is another chapter in the miserable economic record by Governor Malloy and Bob Duff,” D’Amelio said in his release. “Only someone so disconnected from reality believes we need to spend money on such a dumb idea.”

Duff did not reply to a request for a response. NancyOnNorwalk cannot find a comment by Duff anywhere on this topic.

Malloy on Wednesday announced that he had signed an executive order “directing state agencies to conduct a comprehensive assessment on implementing a new funding plan for Connecticut’s transportation system.”

This would prioritize “economic fairness toward the state’s residents by ensuring that drivers from out of state contribute their fair share to the operation and maintenance of the state’s highways while also possibly reducing taxes on the sale of gasoline.”

Malloy is not running for reelection.

“As Connecticut’s General Assembly and next governor consider how to address the future of our state’s transportation funding, this study and plan will prove to be invaluable in their endeavor to make an informed decision,” Malloy is quoted as saying.

The Governor’s executive order directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to:

  • Prepare a comprehensive assessment for possible electronic tolling on I-95, I-91, I-84, the Wilbur Cross Parkway, the Merritt Parkway, and any other limited access highways as determined by the DOT Commissioner, which includes potential toll monitoring and specifies proposed toll charges;
  • Explore potential ways to provide discounts, tax credits, or other value-pricing options to Connecticut residents while ensuring out-of-state drivers contribute their fair share;
  • Explore plans that could reduce motor vehicle fuel taxes; and
  • Study the environmental impacts of electronic tolling systems.

 

“D’Amelio questioned how Malloy came to the cost of the study and why the governor is asking for funding as his administration is coming to an end. He said Sen. Duff has the ability to derail this request before the state Bonding Commission next {Wednesday},” D’Amelio’s press release said.

“Bob Duff has been a loyal Malloy soldier, but let’s hope he does the taxpayers right for once by opposing this ridiculous waste of time and taxpayer money,” D’Amelio is quoted as saying. “It’s no wonder people want change in leadership when they see current management in Hartford borrowing $10 million we don’t have or could spend better on a study that we already know the results.”

Page’s press release quotes him as saying:

“I don’t understand why the state needs a $10 million taxpayer-funded study to discover what should be obvious – tolls would make life in Connecticut even less affordable for commuters and their families.  Here in Norwalk, we endure the impact of the state’s fiscal crisis every day.  Families have had to figure out how to afford the two record tax increases in the past six years, our schools are impacted by consistent underfunding from the state, and commuters get threatened with fare hikes and service cuts on a yearly basis.  However, the governor somehow believes that in spite of the budget crisis, we can just throw away $10 million on a toll study.

“On behalf of all Norwalkers, I am urging the governor and the State Bond Commission to remove the toll study from their agenda because it is frivolous spending we just cannot afford.  Instead of exploring ways to extract more money from hard-working families, the state should study how it can reduce our tax burden and spend the transportation funding it does have more efficiently.”

Malloy’s press release explains the state transportation funding issue:

“The need for developing a new funding method is due to the ongoing destabilization of the Special Transportation Fund, which finances the state’s entire transportation system and is generated primarily through motor vehicle fuel taxes.  As vehicles become more fuel efficient or completely electric, the fund will continue to become more insolvent as each year goes by – an issue that states all across the nation are grappling with.

“Since 2013, at least 26 states have responded to the issue by increasing gas taxes, including seven states in the last year alone.  The motor vehicle fuel tax in Connecticut was reduced in 1997 from $0.39 per gallon to $0.25 per gallon and has not changed since.”

 

Page had a suggestion about spending transportation funds “more efficiently:”

“A great place to start looking for more efficient ways to spend money would be to re-evaluate the DOT’s $1.2 billion project to replace the Walk Bridge with an entirely new lift bridge that will cause great inconvenience to Norwalk for years.  The DOT could have considered other alternatives like a less costly fixed bridge, but it refused.  As a Norwalk State Representative, I will make transportation funding a top priority.”

Comptroller Kevin Lembo, a member of the State Bond Commission, said in a statement that,  “Should this item appear before the Bond Commission, I will vote against it.”

Lembo is a Democrat running for reelection, with two Republicans, Mark Greenberg and Kurt Miller, competing in the primary to become his challenger.

“The Bond Commission should not act as a replacement for legislative action,” Lembo said. “While the subject of electronic tolling — and infrastructure funding as a whole — is important to debate and discuss, I do not support financing this study through bonding without legislative directive. These decisions should be left to the next governor and legislature.”

10 comments

Wineshine July 21, 2018 at 7:23 am

“possibly reducing taxes on the sale of gasoline.”

Right. How about if we all get on our flying donkeys, and we can avoid gas consumption and road use altogether?

Peter Torrano July 21, 2018 at 8:05 am

Whineshine

You just opened up a can of worms. Malloy, Duff and their cohorts are at this very moment authoring a bill to tax flying donkeys.

nora k king July 21, 2018 at 8:43 am

Tolls are needed and this is long over due. I don’t defend Malloy often but a study is needed …..I only wish he just added the tolls. The number one priority of the next governor should be putting tolls in right away.

Piberman July 21, 2018 at 8:49 am

Big deal in a State widely viewed as most mismanaged in the nation with a $20 billion budget. Ten million is chump change. Every other State along the eastern seaboard has tolls. Isn’t the real question is how CT has prospered by not having tolls ? And if taxes are the issue then how come CT voters keep voting for the Party imposing repeated historic sized tax cuts. Surely there are some really serious issues to discuss ! Maybe not.

Wineshine July 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

Nora,although your commment is off point, I’ll respond. No, we don’t need tolls. We need spending curbs. That’s what will benefit the Connecticut taxpayers. The governors agenda has been clear since before the 2016 election: Obtain Cabinet position. Help us all if that happens. If he can do for the USA what he did for Connecticut, you’ll be begging for Russian collusion on the economy.

Tom Keegan July 21, 2018 at 12:28 pm

I wonder what Bob Duff thinks about Malloy’s plan ……..c’mon Bob inquiring minds want to know.

Rick July 21, 2018 at 1:48 pm

The same lack of thought went into taxing fuel for trucks most local taxpayers will pay the hike over the road drivers have enough fuel to go thru Ct to a less hostile environment. Two hundred gallons of fuel can take you a long ways even around Ct. Mass pike is a better ride .

GGP former owners of the Sono Collection didn’t sell the mall to investors with a toll road outside their front door.Common sense will prevail toll impact will be towards local users tourism is at all time low as it is.

What makes rt 1 off limits to those skipping the tolls?

Wallet hub has taken Ct out of a destination and more to an avoidance State anyone suggesting tolls is adding nails to Norwalks coffin.

Why borrow $10 million to fund a new analysis on electronic tolling

Lets take flooding of 95 and look at the studies and work Duff was so hot all over over riding the wave before election

95 seldom closes 1,915 miles of super highway trucks love ,yes there are problems but only in Ct when it rains.Mass has the pike 90 with all the places trucks can stop only place in Ct has is its weigh stations Duff made sure its the only place truckers have to pull over ,

Failure in making the weigh stations work lie where?

This was 2009 today most weigh stations are truck stops they dont open the scales very often anymore.

https://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Greenwich-weigh-station-violations-stay-level-5650.php

The cost created by use of troopers is minimal compared to the security benefits reaped from the police presence, which is easily covered by the revenue generated through violations, Duff said.

“The state police have shown time and time again they are better able to track and monitor suspicious activity which is important because Greenwich is the Gateway to New England,” Duff said. “One of the real benefits of keeping the weigh station open is that it brings in $2 of revenue for every $1 it costs to run.” taken from the above link from Marty a good transportation reporter

What makes us trust the Democrats on tolls when they never got weigh stations right years later.

This is what Bob Duff has done his history shows good ideas at election time simply dont work .

https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Commission-approves-study-for-I-95-widening-in-SW-10900695.php

February 2, 2017 two $1 million allocations to develop a strategy for the widening

Bob 95 has been flooding for years.

Isn’t about time Norwalk revisit duck boats it was such a good idea only a few years back. Like tolls it comes back bites you in the Democratic behind.

Tolls = traffic anyone care to argue this next problem for Norwalk?

Victor Cavallo July 21, 2018 at 2:55 pm

This is nothing compared to the $80 million in “bonuses” the state dems and Duff just doled out to state employees… obviously to buy their votes and not for any job well done.

Joe July 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm

We have to stop this talk of tolls.

When you drive down I-95 South and reach the NJ-Delaware line there’s so many tolls it’s ridiculous. Like every 4 miles in spots!

And those states still have the same problems we do.

The politicians just waste all that money. Just like they’ve burned through all our income tax and estate tax money.

Stefanowsky’s right. Eliminate the income and estate taxes … the rich people will come back in droves.

I never made any money working for poor people.

alan mcnichols July 24, 2018 at 9:05 am

There have been multiple studies about tolls, costing many millions, already.
Malloy is just doing what he does best…punishing those who disagree with him.
This state will squander toll revenue like it does all other revenue streams. Tobacco Settlement money? School bus seat belt fund? Bottle deposits? Mattress recycling fees?
Danny Malloy had his eight years to NOT kick the can down the road, and that is all he did. He promised to end “gimmicks” but he used every gimmick in the book and more.He worked very hard to be the most unpopular governor in America and he succeeded!

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