If you commute across the state line, this is distressing news:
Congress nudged the door ajar for "gateway tolls" on Connecticut's borders.
Tucked into the 1,075-page transportation bill that recently cleared the House of Representatives are provisions that remove, under some circumstances, federal financial roadblocks that have stopped states like Connecticut from imposing new highway tolls. (Urban)
Great. I have nightmares of a toll booth on the Enfield/Longmeadow border, now.
This is a terrible idea for the following reasons:
1. There is a lot of cross-border economic activity, where people will drive from out of state to shop at malls and other retail establishments near the border. Enfield is a great example of this. I routinely see license plates from Massachusetts and Vermont in the parking lots of Enfield stores. The Danbury Fair Mall is another example, and the Crystal Mall in Waterford is a third. Tolls on the highways leading to these places will make out of state customers think twice.
2. Congestion will get much, much worse because of toll plazas. The border crossings are often very busy as it is, with the exception of I-395 and I-84 into Massachusetts. Fairfield County will suffer especially from this.
3. Commuters will start taking side roads unsuited to heavy traffic to avoid paying entry/exit tolls. This means more road repair for the state and for border towns.
I hope our elected representatives had the decency to stand against something so clearly counter to the interests of the state:
All five Connecticut representatives opposed the original amendment. But Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2, swam against the tide and voted in favor of the amendment.
"Rob felt it would be wrong to allow these tolls not to go to new construction only," "Whether you are a trucker or motorist, you already pay a toll in the form of a gas tax," said Todd Mitchell, Simmons' chief of staff.
Simmons is the only member of the delegation on the House Transportation Committee. (Urban)
Source: Urban, Peter. "Bill could take toll on roads." Connecticut Post 4 April 2005.