Letter to Connecticut Leadership on Tolling Roadways to Raise Funds for Transit Infrastructure

Dear Governor Lamont, Senate President Pro Tempore Looney, Senate Majority Leader Duff, House Speaker Aresimowicz, House Majority Leader Ritter, Senate Minority Leader Fasano, and House Minority Leader Klarides: 

As you know, transportation is the backbone of Connecticut’s economy. Residents and businesses depend on a reliable, integrated transportation system to get them where they need to be, when they need to be there. Getting people from home to work on time and predictably moving the goods that businesses need to get the job done are baseline requirements for economic growth. 

Unfortunately, in Connecticut today our transportation infrastructure does not and cannot meet these basic needs. More than half of Connecticut’s roads are in poor condition- 338 of the state’s bridges have been rated “structurally deficient,” and Metro-North’s New Haven Line needs over $3.5 billion in capital investments to improve speed, frequency, connectivity and safety. Our state’s congested roads and slow-moving, undependable trains are compromising our ability to retain and attract companies and workers, earning Connecticut the ranking of 46th in the nation in infrastructure quality and fiscal stability. The time people spend sitting in traffic and on crowded, delayed trains is eroding the high quality of life that Connecticut is known for. Without significant investments in our aging transportation infrastructure we will continue to lose ground to neighboring states and other regions across the country. 

Maximizing the economic potential of our state’s urban centers and leveraging our proximity to the nation’s largest employment center (New York City) are critical to Connecticut’s success as a competitive, dynamic state. To achieve an economically viable future, we need new tools to fund the investments that are so critical to our infrastructure. Tolling, one of the most important tools that states throughout the country use to fund transportation is missing from our toolbox. With tolling, we can raise significant funds to repair our highways and bridges, fund the rail investments that we need to speed travel times, improve our bus transit system and invest in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. And in the future, tolling provides us the opportunity to consider congestion pricing, which coupled with investments in train service and bus transit, will reduce vehicle miles traveled, increase transit ridership, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Your leadership is critical to approving the proposed legislation to enable tolling, which will generate $800 million per year and allow us to move transportation projects from vision to reality. Right now, Connecticut tax-payers are shouldering the full burden of the wear and tear on our highways and our aging rail infrastructure with a slow moving economy that is driving people and businesses away from our state. Without realizing it we are putting more pressure on our tax payers as people and businesses move away and grand lists decline. The Department of Transportation estimates that congestion currently costs Connecticut residents and businesses $860 million per year in time lost sitting in traffic. That is without even factoring in the time spent waiting for or on crowded, delayed trains or the loss of tax paying residents and businesses who have given up on Connecticut. 

We urge you to make the tough choices that our state needs now and support passage of tolling legislation this session in order to course-correct and reposition Connecticut as an economic stronghold on the east coast — a competitive and dynamic state that fosters innovation, encourages the free flow of people and ideas and equitably serves the transportation needs of all its residents. 

Signed, 

Tom Wright, President, Regional Plan Association 

Mayor Luke Bronin, City of Hartford 

Mayor Toni Harp, City of New Haven 

Mayor David R. Martin, City of Stamford 

Ingrid Alvarez, Connecticut State Director, Hispanic Federation 

Greg Belew, Divisional President, NY/Tri-State Area, LMC 

Keith R. Brothers, Business Manager/Secretary Treasurer, CT Laborers' District Council | President, 

New London/Norwich Building and Construction Trades Council 

Nate Brown, Treasurer, Operating Engineers Local 478 

Michael Cacace, Partner, Cacace Tusch & Santagata | Regional Plan Association, CT Committee Co-Chair 

John Capobianco, Secretary Treasurer, Teamsters Local 677 

Arthur Collins, President, Collins Enterprises, LLC | Chair, Urban Land Institute, Westchester/Fairfield 

Michael Critelli, Regional Plan Association, CT Committee Co-Chair 

Kevin Dillon, Co-Chair, Lamont Transition Transportation Policy Committee 

Marcellus A. Edwards, III, Association of Commuter Rail Employees, CT Legislative Representative 

Jim Gildea Chairman, Connecticut Commuter Rail Council 

Doug Hausladen, Acting Executive Director, New Haven Parking Authority 

Doug Holcomb, General Manager, Greater Bridgeport Transit 

Richard Jacob, Associate Vice President for Federal & State Relations, Yale University 

Carl R. Keuhner III, CEO, Building and Land Technology Corp. 

David McCluskey, Former Deputy Speaker/Transportation Bonding Subcommittee Co-Chair 

Kim Morque, President, Spinnaker Real Estate Partners 

Meredith Reuben, CEO, EBP Supply Solutions 

James Rubin, CEO Meridiam NA 

Gary Sorge, Vice President, Community Development, Stantec 

Leah Lopez Schmalz, Chief Program Officer, Connecticut Fund for the Environment 

Don Shubert, President, Connecticut Construction Industries Association 

Yanil Teron, Executive Director, Center for Latino Progress