With the state budget on the ropes and the cost of highway repairs in Connecticut mounting, several bills to reinstitute highway tolls in the state are making their way through the General Assembly.
Critics of the idea told the legislature's Transportation Committee on Monday that state officials can't be trusted with the money that new highway tolls would generate, according to a report today in the Hartford Courant.
The committee held a public hearing on several bills filed this session to install tolls on state highways. State Rep. Steven Mikutel, D-Griswold, told the committee that while the state desperately needs funds to fix its highways, the money raised by tolls probably wouldn't be earmarked for that work.
"History shows you really can't trust us," Mikutel testified, according to the Courant. "The General Assembly has raided the special transportation fund before."
Legislators in so-called "border towns" in the state, such as Enfield, said they are worried residents in their communities would get hit the hardest by the tolls. But proponents said if tolls aren't resurrected in Connecticut the state's gas tax would have to increase to help pay for highway maintenance, the newspaper reported.
The state eliminated highway tolls in the mid-1980s after a tractor-trailer truck crashed into a line of cars at a Stratford toll booth, killing several people.