First Circuit Court Decision Stokes Urgency to Pass Truck-Only Tolls and Begin Gantry Roll-Out
Dead wrong as she may be, at least Governor Gina Raimondo made a decision and stuck with a plan. Her indecisive counterpart next door in the Nutmeg State, Ned Lamont, seems to change his mind on how and who he will toll on a weekly basis.
Governor Lamont’s latest maneuver has Connecticut poised to pass truck-only tolls as emergency legislation in the wake of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision last week giving jurisdiction on the American Trucking Associations’ challenge to RhodeWorks truck-only tolls back to the federal court.
In an interview Sunday, WTNH’s Chief Political Correspondent, Mark Davis, asked Lamont the following:
One year ago today, five weeks after the election, I asked you if you were still committed to the trucks only tolls, you said you were. About six or eight weeks later you changed your mind and included passenger cars. Last month, you went back to trucks only. Don’t you think that’s a problem for a Governor and a politician?
A very confident Lamont concluded his answer with, “they’re (ATA) not going to win their lawsuit”, apparently parroting the arrogance of Governor Raimondo in the wake of the First Circuit Court ruling.
But unlike Raimondo whose program went live in June of 2018 and is nearing the halfway mark in gantry construction, Lamont has some ground to make up to have a gantry network in place before a decision is rendered. Lamont contended, in his comments, that the truck-tolling issue will be resolved “in the next couple of years”, which, one would think, will give him ample time to get legislation passed, sign contracts with a tolling entity, get swift EA approvals from FHWA and build enough gantries to reach that much sought after point of no return.
Trying to push through a toll plan that is already being challenged in court is foolish and irresponsible.
The head of the Connecticut Senate Republican Caucus, state Senator Len Fasano, echoed Sasser’s concerns.
“Tolling trucks sets us up for failure and leads us down a path to car tolls. A lawsuit creates serious financial risks for taxpayers, and the governor’s plan could leave Connecticut with little choice but to expand tolls to cars to avoid legal jeopardy.”
Chris Maxwell is the President and CEO of the Rhode Island Trucking Association. This op-ed first appeared in the association’s newsletter today.