We need tolls now, and here’s why:
- The Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95 are like parking lots between 5-7 p.m., Monday through Friday. If drivers (40% of whom are from out of state) have to pay to drive on these highways, there will be less congestion. The Connecticut General Assembly and State Senators need to do the right thing and approve tolls (44 cents per 10 mile trip is the proposed cost of a toll between Stamford and New Haven) to unclog our highways and prevent us all from wasting time, literally and figuratively fuming in traffic (an estimated $1.2 billion in time cost per year on Connecticut highways alone). Tolls will help us have more free time. This is like lowering a “time tax” on all of us who sit in traffic.
- NOT GETTING WHERE WE WANT TO GO is bad for our economy. Business leaders don’t choose to relocate large corporate facilities in places with inadequate infrastructure that doesn’t work to get people back and forth to work timely. If we can improve our traffic congestion problem more businesses will choose Fairfield County and other communities.
- Governor Lamont’s plan provides a 20% discount to anyone who earns less than $32,000 (125% of the federal poverty line) and lowers bus fares from $1.75 to $1 for transit riders. There will also be a 30% discount for in-State drivers and a 20% discount for Commuters. These actions are progressive, not regressive.
- Tolls combat climate change by encouraging people to think twice before they drive on the highway. Cars work best at 40 miles per hour. We waste gas when we speed or go slower while stuck in stop and go traffic.
- The State Republican plan relies on Connecticut bonding for transportation while the Governor’s plan for tolls allows us to “pay as we go.” If you have a Republican legislator, please call them now to voice your support for tolls. Our state, known for steady habits, should make users pay now through tolls (just as our neighbors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have done for decades) and save our bonding capacity for a rainier day. This vote may come up soon in the “special session” in Hartford. Call your State Representative and State Senator now to support this common sense choice to pay for our roads with tolls!
As a former air quality/transportation planner for Mid-State Regional Planning Agency in Middletown and former municipal investment banker for Paine Webber, Inc., I ask you to consider these points.
We need tolls!