WNPR

With Truck Tolls In Rhode Island, Is Connecticut Next?

Jul 23, 2018

Rhode Island’s new toll program made more than half a million dollars in one month.  But only tolling tractor-trailers has led to a lawsuit by the trucking industry not to mention criticisms from some Rhode Island politicians.  

With another New England state collecting tolls, will Connecticut follow suit?

We also hear about a new proposed development project near the Dunkin' Donuts stadium in Hartford. This downtown neighborhood has seen development projects fail in the past--what does this new proposal bring? The Hartford Courant’s Ken Gosselin joins us with the details.

And if you own an Alexa from Amazon, you know the “personal assistant” can be asked anything --from the weather to obscure facts. But should you be turning to her for questions you’d normally ask your doctor? We’ll talk to a reporter at Quartz who has investigated Alexa’s health “skills.”

GUESTS:

  • Scott MacKay - Political analyst at Rhode Island Public Radio (@ScotMackRI)
  • Bill Cummings - Staff Writer for Hearst Connecticut Media (@BillCummingsct)
  • Ken Gosselin - Business reporter for the Hartford Courant (@kennethgosselin )
  • Katherine Foley - Health and science reporter at Quartz (@katherineefoley)

READING LIST:

Rhode Island Public Radio: Scott MacKay Commentary: Rhode Island's Truck Tolls (July 2018) -  “When it comes to fixing infrastructure, nothing is cheap. One fortuitous  aspect of all the discussion in Rhode Island is that alternatives were considered. The state could have raised the gas tax or other fuel taxes to pay for roads and bridges. There was little appetite for that among lawmakers.  Fuel taxes don’t provide a reliable revenue stream in an era of high-mileage cars and the rapid advance time of electric vehicles. And lawmakers in recent sessions have been loath to raise income or sales taxes for any purpose.”

CT Post: Malloy orders highway toll study (Bill Cummings, July 2018) - “We need to be truthful with the people we were elected to represent — without transforming the way we fund our highways, we will be unable to pay for the large-scale construction and rehabilitation projects that our state needs to ensure continued safe travel while attracting businesses and growing our economy,” Malloy said.

Hartford Courant: 8 Things To Know About Hartford's Downtown North Development (Ken Gosselin, July 2018) – “For years, the 13-acre area was a jumble of parking lots, a hulking, vacant data processing building and the site of the infamous but now demolished “Butt Ugly Building.” The recent construction of Dunkin’ Donuts Park has erased some of its barren appearance. But the development of four parcels around the park is key to generating property tax revenue to justify the city’s $72 million investment in the ballpark.”

Quartz: Alexa is a terrible doctor (Katherine Foley, July 2018) – “Googling symptoms is so common there was no way Alexa wouldn’t include some sort of search functionality. It’s not clear, though, that she can compete with the tools on the internet, as problematic as those are.”

Chion Wolf contributed to this show.