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Connecticut Republicans Offer Transportation Overhaul Funding Plan

Connecticut Senate Republicans
Connecticut Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, at center, announces the GOP transportation funding plan.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said that tolls don't work, and he'd like to avoid tax increases to fund transportation.

Connecticut's Republican legislators proposed a 30-year, $37.4 billion plan to fund a proposed overhaul of the state's transportation system on Tuesday. They'd like to do it without resurrecting tolls.

The announcement comes a week before Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy will present his two-year budget and transportation initiative.

Both Senate and House Republicans proposed dedicating a set amount of bonds to be used solely for transportation projects, starting with $441.5 million in fiscal year 2016. That would complement the approximate $600 million in bonding already spent annually for transportation.

Credit Connecticut Senate Republicans
Connecticut Senate Republicans
"Prioritize Progress: A Plan to Address Long-Term Transportation Needs in Connecticut," was presented by the state Republican legislators on Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said that tolls don't work, and he'd like to avoid tax increases to fund transportation. "How can we fund this without raising taxpayer dollars, and without doing tolls?" he said. "Because a toll's a tax, and it's not gonna work anyway, because you don't generate that much money. So the question is: how can you do it? And this is the way you do it."

Fasano said the state can supplement its existing transportation fund with bonds over the next 30 years. That way, he said, the state can afford at least $1 billion a year for transportation.

But some Democratic lawmakers contend tolls are needed to raise revenues. Speaking last week on WNPR's Where We Live, House Speaker Brendan Sharkey said tolls are necessary to fund transportation. To make it easier on taxpayers, he suggested the gas tax should be lowered.

Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia criticized the GOP plan for not prioritizing projects. He also said the proposed funding levels would likely finance the status quo.

This report includes information from The Associated Press and from WSHU Public Radio.

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