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January 15, 2016

Malloy transportation panel recommends gas tax hike, tolls

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and his Transportation Finance Panel have recommended raising the gas and sales taxes, and implementing electronic tolling to pay for his $100 billion transportation plan.

The panel recommends in its final report returning back to the 1990s gas tax rate of 39 cents per gallon, a phase-in of 14 cents over sevens years. The panel said that would generate $2 billion in revenues over 15 years. The panel also wants to see a voluntary pilot vehicle miles traveled program developed using federal funds for user-based fees that could replace the gasoline tax if it becomes obsolete.

There is also a recommendation to increase the sales tax another half-percent. The funds would be directed to the special transportation fund and would generate $5.8 billion over 15 years.

The panel also seeks the creation of congestion-mitigation tolling using all-electronic tolling to reduce congestion and pay for improvements in the following corridors: New York to New Haven; New Haven to Rhode Island, and New York to Hartford. That would generate nearly $8 billion through fiscal year 2030.

Part of that move also calls for the exploration of converting HOV lanes to toll lanes to reduce congestion north and east of Hartford.

There is also a recommendation to Increase public transit fares and parking rates annually by 2.5 percent to keep pace with inflation. The panel said this would generate $678 million in new revenue from fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2030.

Malloy said in a statement, “While some would like the public to believe you can get something for nothing, or that a best-in-class transportation system is free, that’s not the case. [O]thers may suggest fixing our infrastructure can be done with virtually no expense. It isn’t true.”

The Transportation Finance Panel said in its report that $66 billion, or two-thirds of the Governor’s “Let’s Go CT!” initiative, is just to keep the current infrastructure system that exists today preserved and in a state of good repair over the next 30 years.

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