Connecticut GOP Leader Doubts Tolls Can Pass Legislature; Funding Bill in Limbo

Thu January 16, 2020 - Northeast Edition #2
Associated Press


Gov. Lamont is hoping to finally pass a transportation plan with truck-only bridge tolls before the General Assembly convenes its regular session on Feb. 5.
Gov. Lamont is hoping to finally pass a transportation plan with truck-only bridge tolls before the General Assembly convenes its regular session on Feb. 5.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The Republican leader of the Connecticut Senate said Jan. 13 he doubts a transportation bill that includes tolls can be passed in the General Assembly, despite optimism expressed by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, of North Haven, told reporters that tolls have been "talked about forever" at the state Capitol, and a bill still isn't ready for a vote. Lamont and supportive legislative Democrats are hoping to finally pass a transportation plan with truck-only bridge tolls before the General Assembly convenes its regular session on Feb. 5.

"I don't know why we're wasting more and more time," Fasano said. "They need to stop pretending they can pull the deal off because they can't. And they need to be honest with the public and say we're done. We tried. It was a good shot. But let's now move to what's real, and let's get this transportation fixed. That's what has to be done."

Fasano contends a GOP transportation proposal, which involves spending $1.5 billion in state budget reserves to help reduce more expensive borrowing costs, but no tolls, is a better solution.

Democrats took issue with Fasano's claims there aren't enough votes to pass a transportation bill that includes tolls.

"When Senator [Martin] Looney said the Senate Democratic caucus had a contingent consensus of 18 votes on a transportation plan with tolling only on large trucks with four axles or more, he meant it," said Kevin Coughlin, the Senate president's spokesman. "We would appreciate if Senator Fasano would stick to leading his 14-member caucus."

No date has been set yet for a special session.