If tolls are going to make a comeback, this is the right climate for them to do so. Support for tolls in the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee seems high, and the co-chairmen of the committee agree that it’s just a matter of time before tolls return.
Worryingly, it looks like one form of tolling that’s gaining a lot of traction is the idea of border tolls at interstate crossings into New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This plan is likely to run into fierce opposition from border towns and commuters.
Let’s face it, Connecticut is a small state, and we have a lot of commuters who travel to other states to work. I am one of them, and unsurprisingly the idea of a toll booth blocking my ten-mile commute to work isn’t one I’m particularly fond of. But there are other problems to consider. Enfield’s commercial district draws a lot of shoppers from western Massachusetts. How many of those would go elsewhere rather than pay the toll? And what would happen to the very few other border crossings between Enfield and Longmeadow? I imagine they’d be choked with cars trying to get around the toll. Those roads, especially in upscale Longmeadow, are not built for that kind of traffic.
Other border towns are likely to make similar arguments. This issue is likely to be one of the most contentious this session.