– Hartford (February 13, 2015)
We will be hearing more in the coming months regarding Connecticut transportation infrastructure funds and deficits, specifically about adding tolls to our state highways. Expect a concerted effort to solicit public support for and against tolls.
Both sides of the issue will provide ample selective information to the public. However, other discussions and considerations will not be shared with the public.
The following information was obtained from various sources connected with both sides of the tolls issue.
Two Connecticuts, the southwest and northeast:
Legislators from the Fairfield, Stamford and northwestern Connecticut communities are pushing very hard against border tolls that they insist will add to an already problematic congestion problem, instead lobbying for expanded separate CT rail service, primarily citing Metro North delays of up to a few minutes. The push is not focused on Metro North but Connecticut’s own separate rail service.
Legislators from north central communities also generally oppose border tolls due to congestion concerns and are counter lobbying western community legislators’ efforts to secure most of the immediate funding. Specifically, the north central faction wants to ensure train stations and train stops in their communities are on equal footing with requests from the south west.
There is marginal support for cutting state government spending.
Proposals to “lock the box”, legislation that would make it illegal for the general assembly to raid transportation funds for other obligations, lacks any notable traction and may likely get lost in the noise.
Infringement Justification and Support:
Firearms owners remain in the governor’s and his supporters’ cross hairs. The deficit and poor state of our infrastructure, tolls and fuel taxes, will be the tools used to gain public support to pass further infringements on firearms owners.
The argument will be submitted that we have roads, and particularly bridges, in dire need of repair and improvement, focusing on public safety, and that we have a serious deficit problem requiring increasing state revenue, from only a few available areas. The public’s choices will be selectively limited to:
a) put in tolls,
b) increase fuel taxes, sales tax, income taxes, or
c) increase firearms permit fees, impose new permits, impose a firearms property tax, require special insurance, and increased ammunition taxes.
As the public facing debate heats up, we will continue pulling non-public information that will shed light on what may really be driving the governor’s and general assembly’s positions.
– H.R., contributor