For decades, Connecticut’s transportation financing methods have led to deferred or stretched out maintenance and the avoidance of equipment replacements, capacity expansion and performance enhancing technology improvements. We have created a multi-billion-dollar queue of unfunded capital needs, worsening congestion, and mounting workforce productivity losses.
Connecticut's economy simply can’t endure more self-inflicted harm.
The Business Council of Fairfield County supports proposed legislation to adopt electronic fare collection as an essential step toward the sustainable competitiveness of our state.
“Connecticut's economy simply can’t endure more self-inflicted harm.”
We need the money. Transportation infrastructure needs a reliable revenue stream to finance construction, system enhancements, equipment and structure upgrades and replacements.
Avoiding tolls has made the problem much worse. Traffic isn’t the only thing slowed by under-maintained infrastructure. Serious congestion slows economic growth. Slow – or no – growth means companies not expanding and jobs not created. Economic stagnation increases social safety net costs, driving up taxes for a static or shrinking taxpayer base.
Modern tolls are safe and green. Electronic toll technology, mounted on overhead gantries, has eliminated the need for barrier tolls, eliminating concerns such as vehicle collisions and the environmental impact of emissions caused by vehicles accelerating away from fare collection points.
We can’t afford to continue subsidizing our neighbors. The absence of tolls has resulted in Connecticut subsidizing our neighboring states as non-resident trucks and cars, including daily commuters, use the roadways without paying towards their upkeep.
“Pay-as-you-go” and “general obligation bonding” can’t meet the need. Near term safety, system performance and growing customer demand needs cannot be met through the regular annual operating budget, nor through the state’s constrained general bonding.
Avoidance has created financial uncertainty bordering on chaos. The political desire to avoid tolls has led to the creation of an inefficient, non-strategic set of funding mechanisms which frequently change, periodically cannibalize other revenue streams and, in turn, are raided to meet annual budget shortfalls.
The lockbox reduces raid risk. Federal toll policies block diversion. The passage of the “lockbox” referendum by Connecticut voters in November 2018 greatly increases the financial integrity of the Special Transportation Fund (STF), while federal tolling authorization brings tight contractual controls to insure revenues are spent as proposed.
Vigilance will be necessary. We understand that today’s commitments are not always kept tomorrow. However, the realistic need to be vigilant should not prevent us from acting on our transportation crisis.
This policy position was first articulated on the website of The Business Council of Fairfield County and was developed for the 2019 legislative session, which ultimately did not approve legislation to re-establish tolls in Connecticut. It is anticipated that a revised transportation funding plan will be proposed by Gov. Lamont in the coming months.