As transportation funding continues to be an issue at the national and state levels, the Connecticut legislature restarted the debate Monday on introducing new tolls to finance desperately needed road projects and transit updates.
The state has operated without tolling since 1983, relying mostly on gas taxes and federal funds to finance state transportation. While that money is always designated for the “Special Transportation Fund,” it is often repurposed for non-transportation-related uses. For example, while Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy put $40 million into the Special Transportation Fund in 2011, he took out $70 million during the current fiscal year.
One possible plan being considered is charging drivers to use roads based on the time of day, type of vehicle, and lane designations. For any tolling plan discussed, legislators agree that any revenue generated would have to be dedicated to the Special Transportation Fund only.
At present, Connecticut’s deficit for the current fiscal year is estimated at around $400 million.
The fight for increased transportation funding has arisen in the face of insufficient money to undertake several sorely needed road and transit improvement projects, such as an overhaul of the Aetna Viaduct and the modernization of the Metro-North New Haven rail line.