Alternative to tolls?
Nobody really likes tolls ... unless they are a better option than the alternatives.
What I do not like is that my daily commute to Grand Central Terminal is now 30 minutes longer. As a consequence, the value of my home in Westport has decreased.
What I do not like is worrying about the safety of the roads and bridges while traveling on the CT highways. 57% of public roads in CT are in poor condition; 338 bridges are rated as structurally deficient.
What I really do not like is that these issues are becoming divisive instead of bringing all of the CT residents together to find fair and commonsense solutions.
Nobody denies that there is an infrastructure crisis in CT. CT is the only state on the eastern seaboard without tolls to fix these problems.
Bonding is not a sustainable source of revenue. Also, it lets out-of-staters off the hook. CT residents should not have to pay 100% of the costs when out-of-state drivers represent 40% of the traffic.
Introducing Fair, Safe and Flexible tolls is a much better solution for the long-term safety and health of our beautiful state. Connecticut can do better!!
Joëlle Berger, Westport
Hidden cost of driving
Let’s shine some light on the real cost of driving: what is it, how it can be paid for, and by whom.
Some people think that the cost of driving only includes wear and tear on their car/truck/other and time spent/wasted in traffic. They’re wrong — they’re missing another important cost: the taxes they pay that allow the state to repay money borrowed (bonds) to pay for improvements of our roads and bridges.
The cost of tolls is as stark as a tolls gantry on the highway: you know when you pay it and how much. But with taxes, you never know how much of your tax dollars went to repay the money the state borrowed (bonds) for transportation-related infrastructure expenses.
And another important point: unlike tolls, you pay taxes whether you drive on the roads or not.
And if you think that tolls would be just “another cost passed on to residents”, think again: transportation costs are already being passed on to CT residents. We pay taxes to fund the state’s repayment of money borrowed (30-year bonds) to pay for improvements of our transportation infrastructure.
And this point on tolls vs. bond borrowing:
There are two plans being discussed in Hartford on ways to fund our (very needy) transportation infrastructure: one using bonds and using tolls. In the “Prioritize Debt” (bond) plan, CT taxpayers pay 100% of the cost of transportation through taxes (as we do now). In the tolls plan, the cost is shared between CT drivers and the other users of our roads: the 40% of drivers on our roads who come from out-of-state.
So, this question: now that we understand the costs: why would we want to pay 100% when we could get someone else to pay part of it?
Jackie Kaiko, Stamford
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