This week, MTAC President Joe Sculley testified before the legislature’s joint committee on Transportation on six different bills relating to tolls and quasi-governmental agencies. Regarding the debate over whether if and how Connecticut should implement tolls and if the state should create a quasi-government agency to manage the implementation of tolls, Mr. Sculley laid out a few arguments against the state’s proposed plans in his testimony.
Mr. Sculley informed the members of the Transportation Committee that the gas tax rate in the state is based on a two-tiered system, and the actual tax rate is currently 39.3 cents per gallon, and not 25 cents per gallon, which is a common misconception, as Governor Malloy is proposing raising the gas tax seven cents over the next five years in order to raise revenue.
Furthermore, Mr. Sculley discussed why Connecticut will not be able to implement a tolling system that is similar to other states, the most common comparison being to the Mass Pike in neighboring Massachusetts. The Mass Pike was built with tolls, and not with tolls being added decades later, and federal law prevents Connecticut from implementing fixed-rate tolls on our highways. Similarly, other states have added tolls on newly built express lanes in other states, which use a congestion pricing model only on the new express lanes, where motorists have the option to travel on the express lane and pay tolls, or to stay in regular lanes and not pay. If Connecticut implements congestion pricing on tolls on its highways, residents could find themselves paying upwards of $47 dollars to travel a mere 10 miles, as is the case in Virginia.
The legislature has also proposed creating the Connecticut Transportation Authority, a quasi-government agency that could add unnecessary debt to the state, while operating with limited oversight or accountability. Mr. Sculley argued that employees of the Connecticut Transportation Authority will accrue large salaries and expensive benefits that will be shouldered by Connecticut residents and businesses, while not being held accountable. Additionally, quasi-governmental agencies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are prime examples of the debt, diversion of funds from transportation, and corruption that come from a lack of oversight.
Read Mr. Sculley’s full testimonies:
- Testimony – Raised Bill 389 – An act establishing the Connecticut Transportation Authority
- Testimony – Raised Bill 5393 – An act establishing the Connecticut Transportation Finance Authority to maintain major state highways
- Testimony – Raised Bill 5391 – An act concerning transportation infrastructure
- Testimony – Raised Bill 5046 – An act concerning the sustainability of transportation projects
- Testimony – Raised Bill 388 – An act establishing a pilot program for speed detecting cameras and concerning speed warning signs