YOUR VIEW: Better infrastructure will grow the economy

Published on Thursday, 7 March 2019 18:30
Written by Chris Ziogas

To The Editor:

Gov. Lamont has recently arrived at the conclusion that tolls are necessary on Connecticut’s roads. They are necessary because of the aging infrastructure, the high volume of traffic, and declining gas tax revenues exacerbated by the advancement of electric -powered automobiles.

Current thinking suggests that 25-35 percent of all traffic on our roads are from out-out-state drivers, both commercial and private citizens.

They are getting a free pass through Connecticut.

It costs a Bristol resident not less than $1.50 to go to Yankee Stadium on new state roads. It is about $5 to go to Fenway Park. The costs of up-keep on our roads is high, and out-of-state drivers should contribute.

So how do we capture those out-of-state dollars, and not “ding” Connecticut residents any more than we do? The Republican alternative to tolls is bonding, borrow to pay.

That cost sits squarely on Connecticut taxpayers, but it still may represent part of the solution to safer, more efficient transportation.

Another idea is to use our own hated state income tax code to help. We do this by giving Connecticut tollpayers a TAX CREDIT FOR THE VALUE OF THE TOLLS THEY PAY.

This will allow us to collect from drivers who don’t file a Connecticut income tax return. It has the added benefit of being a user’s fee, so the impact is only on those who use the highways.

The impact of this approach, my guess, would net about $250-350 million that are driving in and out of our state each year. This money, perhaps coupled with some Republican bonding, can get us to the improved transportation network that we need to grow our economy.

This alone won’t resolve our problems; leaner spending plans, debt control and observing our obligations will never be out of style. New governor, new plan, both parties participate; it’s a start.

State Rep. Chris Ziogas

D-Bristol/ 79th District

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Thursday, 7 March 2019 18:30. Updated: Thursday, 7 March 2019 18:33.