Monday, January 08, 2007

Panel Calls for Tolls

It seems that every couple of months the idea of reinstating tolls returns:
A panel has recommended that Connecticut should consider returning tolls to its highways to raise revenue and better manage congestion.

The Transportation Strategy Board issued its report on Friday and calls for legislation to pay for a comprehensive review and analysis of electronic tolls and congestion pricing.
The board said that without some new source of revenue, Connecticut will be unable to pay for numerous highway projects on the drawing board.

So! How many legislators out there are willing to vote for a bill putting up toll booths on I-95, I-84 and I-91?


"Panel Recommends Reinstating Highway Tolls." Associated Press 7 January, 2007.


Anonymous said...

This is only a study to see if they make sese. If the right hand knew what the left hand was doing, the TSP woold know that both ConnDOT and SWRPA have applied for federal grants to fund the study. Instead of the usual fly by the seat of the pants and see if a 100million here or half a billion there big project that sounds nice works, the study would evaluate scenarios without requiring any big construction contracts - oops that's bad isn't it!!!

wtfdnucsubsailor said...

When you look at what New Jersey has done by keeping tolls on the Garden State Parkway and the NJ Turnpike to improve their infrastructure, it looks like CT is missing the boat if we don't consider tolls to finance our decaying highways and byways. With the advent of EZ Pass and similar technologies, toll collection stations should not be the same safety problems the old toll booths were. It is certainly an issue worth persuing.

GMR said...

I am not opposed to tolls in theory, and would strongly favor some sort of congestion pricing, where the prices are higher during rush hour, much like Metro North charges a higher rate. This would encourage more people to have flex time commutes. I-95 is not backed up all day, it's backed up during rush hour.

However, in practice, it might be difficult to put tolls in place on I-95. There are a lot of exits and entrances to 95, especially between NY state and New Haven or so. Would people just get off and take the post road for a mile, then reënter the highway? Also, are there parts of 95 that are really going to be wide enough to have lanes for EZPass and lanes for cash paying luddites, without the cash payers backing up into the EZPass lanes?

Anonymous said...

Presumably, if Connecticut were to re-toll its highways, it would use technology like that on the 407 ETR outside Toronto. You'd have no toll booths, but instead would have devices at each entrance/exit ramp to read EZPass transponders, or to photograph license plates so that bills could be sent to those folks who don't have EZPass.

Anonymous said...

No need to do a study, all the answers right here.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

How about this?

Charge a LOT to use the Merritt during rush hour and twice as much Thursday and Friday afternoons (when it clogs with New Yorkers that refuse to get out of the left lane (passing on the right is legal in NY so they don't know any better)) and allow CT taxpayers a tax credit of 150%. Using the FastPass, EZPass or similar compatible device, keeping track of it all would be a breeze.

It would both raise needed revenues and reduce congestion better than Dristan.

TrueBlueCT said...


Now we're thinking! I commend you on your post.

Plenty of ways to grant a "discount" to CT residents who commute. For example, the Newport Bridge is $2/token. But you can buy ten tokens for $10, or 100 tokens for $60.

Solo commuters, truckers, and out-of-staters should bear the brunt of the tolls, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

Silly idea. Anyone ever drive to Massachusetts on holidays? The pike is typically backed up a good 2 miles. Tolls should be eliminited alltogether. Build more highways to relieve congestion, don't further tax and incovenience motorists who allready pay through the nose in the form of gas taxes for our highways.

GMR said...

I worked for a tech company based north of Toronto and it was interesting that with the high toll on the 407, some developers would either work very early and leave early, or very late and leave late. This way, they could take the normal roads and make it home in a reasonable amount of time and avoid the toll. The toll isn't cheap: about 16.25 Canadian cents per km (about 23 US cents per mile). Also, not sure exactly how the system they have on the 407 would work here in CT due to privacy laws of various states (although NY state does share its license plate data with the province of Ontario).

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

>>Anyone ever drive to Massachusetts on holidays? The pike is typically backed up a good 2 miles

We have a house on the Cape and travel there frequently on weekends. I take the Mass Pike to 495 and while I SEE the backup it rarely involves us as we have a Mass FastPass.

Anonymous said...

Who are the members of this "panel"? I want to make sure they never get another government job again!

We pay more DMV fees and gasoline taxes than most states. Why isn't that revenue going to keep our highways in better shape?

The federal Government owns the Interstates, it would be tough to buy them back.

Anonymous said...

I would like to say that I remember that tragic day in 1989. I was looking from my window in the apartments facing I-95 and wondering why all the traffic. I will never forget that day because that day changed my life forever. My mother never came home that day. My mother Fiona Johnson was killed in that toll accident. I don't know how I feel about the tolls being bought back. Was my lose just a feak accident. Was it there time or could it have been prevented. Thats a question we will never know but I do know that that driver who took my mothers life changed me forever. I'm shore weather the victoms of that tearable day get a say in that desission may not effect the choice that the state must make but i do know and I can't speak for every one on this matter but I will say this. If the state makes a disission to put the tolls back up I would like to do the honors of cutting the ribbon. I see it as a new beging for those whom it became a traggic end.