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October 19, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

No Tolls CT buys billboards to protest highway tolls plan

Photo courtesy NoTollsCt.org

Grassroots opposition group No Tolls CT has bought billboards on Interstates 84, 91 and 95 to re-emphasize its disapproval of the still unresolved plan to return tolls to Connecticut’s major highways.

“Tell Your Legislators!” the billboards implore. “Vote for Tolls, Lose at the Polls.”

No Tolls CT founder Patrick Sasser declined to say how much money was spent on the billboards.

The arrival of the signs is the latest chapter in a saga that has essentially been unfolding since Gov. Ned Lamont took office in January. Along with a majority of fellow state Democrats, Lamont has supported tolling, primarily as a means of generating much-needed revenue. The pro-tolls side maintains that tolls could bring in some $800 million per year.

Republicans and anti-toll protesters have basically painted tolls as another tax on Connecticut residents.

The issue was not brought up for a vote in this past legislative session, with Lamont promising a special session to consider the issue; that has yet to be scheduled.

The original tolls bill as written would have placed no more than 50 gantries roughly every six to seven miles on I-84, I-95, I-91 and Route 15 (The Merritt Parkway). Drivers using a Connecticut EZ-Pass and a frequent-user discount would have paid roughly 25 to 30 cents per gantry, or 4.4 cents per mile.

Another group, Move CT Forward – consisting of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association, the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, the Connecticut Laborers’ District Council and the Connecticut Ready-Mixed Concrete Association, among others – has spent some $900,000 on a pro-tolls television, radio and digital ad campaign.

In May, Sasser, a Stamford firefighter, presented Lamont’s office with a stack of petitions containing more than 100,000 signatures from people around the state who are against tolls.