We oppose SB 289 for the following reasons:
- While the proposed tolling of the extension of Rte11 from Salem to I95 will produce revenue, no study has been done to determine if the revenue would be sufficient to cover the cost of construction and maintenance. Many experts believe that the projected traffic volume is too low and is likely to remain so given that free alternative routes will remain available. Thus, our main goal of reducing congestion is not being met by this alternative;
- The fiscal analysis of SB 289 notes that the fiscal impact of imposing of electronic tolls for the purpose of extending Rte 11 cannot be determined at this time as it will depend on the fee structure, technology implemented and associated administrative and capital costs.
- The DOT is currently developing a traffic study for the extension. The study is due for completion in December 2012 and will provide the data needed to estimate the amount of revenue that could be gained from tolling of this portion of the road.
- EPA reviews of the project have shown that the extension of RTE 11 will have significant environmental impact that will require significant mitigation plan that has not been completed or approved.
The League believes that the future return of tolls to Connecticut is probably inevitable. But we firmly believe that this first introduction of a tolling proposal is not the right vehicle given the financial, environmental and policy concerns above. We urge you to oppose SB 289 when it comes up for a debate and possible vote today.
Thank you for this opportunity to provide input.
Jara Burnett, League Transportation Specialist