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Saturday, August 18 News

Letters to the Editor: Sen. Boucher on the wrong side of tolls

To the Editor:

Once again state Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, is spewing words of insanity regarding the installation of automated tolls. She believes the residents of the state should be responsible for funding the government via tax increases, and vehicular transportation through Connecticut should be free.

It is insane not to want to allow interstate traffic to contribute to the state’s infrastructure. One of the reasons Connecticut is the only state in America that shows negative growth is because you can’t get in and out of the state via the highway system.

Stop your nonsense about trains! Trains are effective and are pretty much at capacity during rush hour. The responsibility of government is to listen to the people of the state and heed their words.

Boucher was a leader in the demise of the cancellation of the Super 7 expressway, which would have connected the greater Danbury area with South Western Fairfield County. It would have been the only north-south route in Fairfield County. Keep in mind the state did purchase all the property to build such an expressway and she was responsible for all that money and time being wasted.

Every other surrounding state has tolls. Connecticut drivers pay those tolls. It’s time for drivers to pay in Connecticut. We are broke! Boucher is a root cause.

What the government should do is allow Connecticut commuters to deduct the toll charges on their taxes.

Government officials in Connecticut, such as Boucher, should be ashamed of themselves for not providing adequate roadways for commuters.

We need new government in Connecticut. We need to start by asking Wilton to dump Boucher. This isn’t a party issue. It’s a sanity issue.

Lanny Goldman

Norwalk

To the Editor:

Connecticut has long been the only Eastern Seaboard state without electronic highway tolls — the E-ZPass system. Now with his term expiring, Gov. Malloy, mindful of the expected $4 billion budget deficit he’ll be leaving his successor — identical in size to the one he inherited — has advocated reinstalling highway tolls.

Highway tolls generate large sums. Hundreds of millions can be expected. Some estimates are as large as $400 million to $500 million annually. Perhaps 25 percent would come from out-of-state pass-through traffic, the remainder from Connecticut residents/businesses, thereby demonstrating tolls are just another user fee in an already highly taxed state.

However, tolls provide an unusual opportunity to introduce Time-of-Day toll pricing used successfully the world over to reduce congestion. The basic idea is to free up highways for those who have high priority use during high commute times, e.g., early mornings and late afternoons, and shift commercial and other traffic into other times through offering lower tolls.

Electronic tolls have also been used to control speeding and assist with stolen vehicles. Any regular user of Connecticut’s major highways can attest highway speeding is endemic. Given the numbers of fatal accidents, tolls can be justified as a life-saving enterprise. Commercial truck drivers in particular would be far more concerned about speeding with toll identification.

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In a nutshell, there aren’t many new ideas that would improve life on our notoriously overcrowded state highways. But electronic tolls with Time-of-Day toll pricing is one of them.

Peter I. Berman

Norwalk

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