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Connecticut Could See Highway Tolls Sooner Than Previously Predicted

Washington State Dept. of Transportation/flickr creative commons
Electronic tolling equipment

With Connecticut’s special transportation fund expected to be scraping bottom by 2020, some lawmakers and advocates have been saying electronic highway tolls are inevitable. But that reality may be here sooner than originally thought.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz recently announced that he believes electronic tolls could be installed on the state’s highways in about 18 months -- not the three or more years originally predicted.

Is that possible?

Jim Cameron, commuter advocate and founder of the Commuter Action Group, said it is.

"Installation of the toll equipment that reads the E-ZPasses is no different than putting up a sign over the highway," said Cameron.

An E-ZPass is a small, cashless device that is attached to a car windshield and automatically deducts from a prepaid account.

"You just put up a gantry -- something that runs across the top of the highway -- and you put the transponders in there and the cameras," said Cameron. "There's not a lot of construction that's involved."

You don’t even need an E-ZPass.

"They take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill," explained Cameron. "A little more expensive than what it would be if you’d had an E-ZPass. So there’s an incentive to actually getting that technology."

Electronic tolling is already in place in some states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York.

The transportation committee voted in favor of the latest bill last month and while it's not clear whether the General Assembly will authorize tolls this session, Aresimowicz said he expects tolls to be included either in the budget or in another transportation bill.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.

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