Cautions against 'discriminatory' tolls
To the Editor:
Some inland legislators want to begin collecting tolls from motorists and truckers at key gateway locations on Connecticut's borders.
This concept is both discriminatory and anti-business.
It is discriminatory because border tolls impact more those citizens who reside near the border locations where the toll is collected.
An inland citizen who drives out of state only infrequently may use the state's entire highway network on a daily basis and rarely pay a toll.
A resident who lives near the border toll, particularly one who commutes to a job out-of-state, may use only a small portion of the highway network and yet will be assessed a toll every work day.
Border tolls are anti-business for two reasons.
First, tolls will be a strong disincentive to out-of-state residents who currently shop in Connecticut. Fewer shoppers mean fewer transactions, lower sales tax receipts, lower profits for merchants, less need for workers, and a continuing stagnant Connecticut economy.
Second, tolls are inflationary. Businesses that import products from out-of-state will face higher costs from shippers. They, in turn, will raise prices to recover the added cost of the tolls, further dampening our economic recovery and slowing future growth.
Border tolls will also encourage motorists and truckers to divert to state and local roads to avoid paying the toll. This shift in traffic volume will increase congestion and costly wear and tear on local and state roads.
That would result in an added tax burden for border communities and higher spending by the state for road repair and maintenance.
Lastly, the state legislature has shown itself incapable of allowing revenues raised for a specific purpose to remain segregated and dedicated to that purpose.
There is no reason to believe they would refrain from raiding the funds derived from tolls to pay for other, non-highway initiatives.