The state bond commission approved funding for a $10 million study of road tolls Wednesday.
It’s the result of an executive order made by Governor Dannel Malloy. Malloy said the study should speed up the process of implementation of tolls—if the next governor or the state legislature wanted to go that route.
“It will allow future governors and futures legislatures to have tools to make informed decisions about our transportation needs,” Malloy said.
He outlined two other major reasons for proposing the study: he said tolls would make Connecticut competitive with neighboring states and they would define a revenue stream that removes the state’s reliance on the gas tax, which Malloy thinks will soon be obsolete.
Republican Senate President Len Fasano said the study is unnecessary. He’s against tolls in general because while proponents say it’s a way to capture cash from out of state drivers, he believes they could cost state residents as much as 10 cents per mile.
By contrast the administration has pegged the potential cost to residents at 3.5 cents per mile, although it concedes any early estimate is speculative.
“People in Connecticut don’t want tolls,” Fasano said. “They just don’t want to be pick-pocketed anymore. We don’t need to do a toll study. The next governor coming in—whoever that’s going to be—they can make that decision.”
The state will now find a vendor to help them with the study. Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said that should take nine months. Redeker said that based on how the study goes, tolls could be implemented in Connecticut within five years if a future legislature and governor sign off.