LETTERS: Two responses about tolls

LETTERS: Two responses about tolls

No need for tolls


I am pleased that Mr. Brodinsky has written in response to my Tolls RIP op-ed. Mr. Brodinsky focused on one of three points I argued that destroy the case for tolls in Connecticut. My point was motor fuel tax collections are not “disappearing” as stated by Gov. Lamont as a reason for tolls. Motor fuel tax collections have had modest ups and downs since 2005. But the long-term trend is modestly upwards. Even Mr. Brodinsky begrudgingly admits motor fuel revenues “have nudged up a bit” in the last 14 years. Even he admits those tax collections are not “disappearing.” Yes, motor fuel taxes are not enough by themselves to sustain the increased infrastructure spending, but I never argued that. My point was to debunk the governor's false claim that fuel taxes were “disappearing.”

What I find disappointing in Mr. Brodinsky’s letter is that he doesn't address my other two points, the dramatic reduction in infrastructure spending necessary to get our transportation systems in good working order as testified by the DOT during hearings on April 8, and the wonderful prospect of enormous federal subsidies that Gov. Lamont announced on April 10. Combined, the reduced spending and the dramatic increase in federal aid eliminate the “need” for tolls.

Len Suzio, Meriden

The writer is a former state senator representing Meriden, Cheshire, Middlefield, Middletown and Rockfall.

The tale of the tolls


Unsurprisingly, Stephen Knight’s recent op-ed “The argument for resisting tolls” was the usual negative partisan diatribe to be expected, but one of his misstatements especially needed correcting.

Knight cites a report by the “Reason Foundation” that ranks Connecticut 50th among states for “per mile” administrative costs relating to transportation.

What is not accounted for, and exposes the report’s flaws, is that the “Reason” report uses “road miles” as a gauge for costs as a opposed to the more accurate “lane miles.” Why does this matter?

Reason treats one mile of a dirt road in a rural state the same as, for example, a one-mile, 12-lane section of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge (aka the Q Bridge) in New Haven or a mile stretch of the I-84 Waterbury Mixmaster. Not really apples to apples.

This adjustment alone completely flips our ranking to 10th from last!

Other realities such as our state’s northeast climate, complexity of our road system and high traffic density are also not factored. In addition, our Department of Transportation has the unique responsibility of operating and maintaining the New Haven commuter rail line to New York.

By the way, Knight fails to mention that the Republican “credit card” borrowing plan would cost Connecticut residents twice as much as tolls. Under a toll system 40% of the bill would be paid by out-of-state drivers, while bonding debt falls 100% on Connecticut taxpayers. 

How best to fund our transportation infrastructure needs is an important debate. Facts are what make an argument credible. Thank you.

State Rep. Hilda E. Santiago, D-Meriden


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