Gov. Ned Lamont released a long-awaited draft of highway tolls legislation on Tuesday. Here are some of the key takeaways from the proposed bill, which will be considered in a special legislative session this summer.
What would tolls cost?
The rates proposed, including discounts for having a Connecticut E-ZPass and being a frequent user, are 4.4 cents per mile during peak periods and 3.5 cents during off-peak periods.
Would there be any other discounts?
Yes, for low-income drivers. Drivers with a household income less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level ($25,975 for a household of three, for example, according to the latest figures) would receive an additional discount.
Who would set the rates?
The rates would be set by the Connecticut Transportation Commission, a nine-member group that includes legislators from both parties, the commissioners of transportation, economic development, housing, the state treasurer, the state budget director and one member appointed by the governor.
What roads would be tolled?
Tolls would be on I-84, I-91, I-95 and portions of Route 15, which includes the Merritt and Wilbur Cross parkways.
How many tolls would there be?
There would be no more than 50 overhead gantries.
What would be the penalties for not paying tolls?
Fines would be not more than $25 for a first violation, not more than $50 for a second violation and not more than $100 for a third or subsequent violation. There would be an opportunity to contest the violations. The state Department of Motor Vehicles would also refuse to renew the registrations of Connecticut drivers who have past due tolls from another state.
What would the state do with the tolling information it collects?
Customer information, including names, license plates and photographs of vehicles passing underneath toll gantries, would only be disclosed in very specific cases, like a court order. The information would not be subject to the state Freedom of Information Act.
Would state legislators have to pay tolls?
Yes. “Any member of the General Assembly shall pay tolls when traveling on a tolled highway,” according to the bill.
What types of projects would be funded?
The legislation lists many specific projects that would benefit from toll revenue, and other projects that would be paid for with money freed up from the Special Transportation Fund that had been used for some of the highway projects. The list includes:
- I-95 improvements
- Replacing the I-84 viaduct in Hartford
- I-84 exits in Danbury
- Waterbury Mixmaster
- I-84 and I-91 interchange in Hartford
- Route 7 and Route 15 interchange in Norwalk
- Heroes Tunnel on Route 15 in New Haven
- I-91, I-691 and Route 15 interchange in Meriden
- Replacing the Gold Star Memorial Bridge on I-95 in New London
- New Hartford Line rail stations in Newington and West Hartford
- New Metro-North station in Bridgeport
- Expanding the Danbury branch of the New Haven Line to include New Milford
- More frequent service on the Waterbury branch of the New Haven Line
- Improvements to the New Canaan and Stratford Metro-North stations
Russell Blair can be reached at email@example.com.