Transportation Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6200

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF TOLLS ON NEW HIGHWAYS OR HIGHWAY EXTENSIONS.

Vote Date:

3/18/2011

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/18/2011

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Rep. Jutila, 37th Dist; Rep. Linda A. Orange, 48th Dist.; Rep. Kevin Ryan, 139th Dist.
Rep. Elizabeth B. Ritter, 38th Dist.; Rep. Timothy D. Larson, 11th Dist.;
Rep. Ernest Hewett, 39th Dist.; Rep. Tom Reynolds, 42nd Dist

REASONS FOR BILL:

The bill authorizes the Department of Transportation to establish tolls on any highways to repay bonds issued for the construction and maintenance of new capacity roads or extensions. After the capitol and maintenance costs for such a road are repaid, the tolls could be dismantled. This bill is targeted by proponents who want to see the completion of Rt 11.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

NONE

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

David B. Gingham, Member of the Town of Salem Planning and Zoning Commission for the past forty years during which time the completion of Rt 11 has been a cornerstone for transportation policy in Southeastern Connecticut. - Town, regional and state plans of conservation and development all concur that completion of Rt 11 is necessary, appropriate and beneficial to expedite traffic flow through this corridor safely, while protection the entire corridor from additional sprawl. A world class design with a broad greenway is planned to mitigate environmental impacts. Hearings on this matter have proven there is huge public support. Federal funding for the design and also for an accompanying bikeway and pedestrian trail has been appropriated. Those funds require a state match to start work. These are green jobs, awaiting a green light. Nothing will happen unless state funding is found.

In the past funding to complete construction of the road had to compete with other state priorities. Users of the road are wiling to pay the state cost by having a toll on the road. That would leverage the federal funds available with no loss of state funds needed for other projects. This bill enables completion of Rt 11 to be permitted to pay for itself through a modern toll system. Tolls should be removed when construction is completed. The current situation is intolerable. Commuters traveling through Salem as they drive between Hartford and new London have experienced road rage, delays and risk to their lives traveling Rt 85.

We ask that Rt 11 be allowed to pay its own way with a toll.

Peter Sielman, Salem, Member of the Route 11 Greenway Authority Commission - Rt 11 ends abruptly in the town of Salem and dumps its southbound traffic onto Route 82 and then onto Route 85. The latter are dangerous roads without shoulders and more than 100 curb cuts before reaching Interstate 95. There are 12 traffic lights on this stretch of road which interfere with Crystal Mall traffic and lead to slow passage and considerable exhaust pollution.

Theoretically the current road is supposed to function as the emergency exit in the event of problems at the Millstone nuclear power plant, Electric Boat or the New London Submarine Base. Practically, the current route would be a “parking lot” in the event of such an emergency.

We understand that the state doesn't have the funds to carry out construction and are in favor of collecting tolls at either end of the 8.5 miles of new construction required in order to complete Rt 11. It will result in a safer, faster, less polluting road that will enhance the economic viability of the Port of New London and the lives of residents who live along Route 85 and in cul de sacs that fed into it. The users of the completed Route 11 will actually be saving money as compared to the true cost of the current alternative routes with their added length and stop-and-go-traffic. They will also save time, be considerably safer and pollute less. And, we will have a viable emergency evacuation route out of the New London area.

Kevin Lyden, First Selectman of the Town of Salem - Southeastern Connecticut is sorely lacking its infrastructure needs, and tolls add a revenue stream that can pay for them.  The Southeastern CT Council of Governments has endorsed the completion of Rt 11 as one if the highest, long term priority transportation projects.  The region is home to the Naval Submarine Base and a nuclear power plant, and Rt. 85, despite being too narrow and overused, is designated as an evacuation route.  When finished, Rt. 11 will add to the safety of the region.  The only reason Rt. 11 has not been finished is due to lack of funding.  This bill provides a funding source.

 

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

NONE

Reported by: Mary Anderson

Date: March 24, 2011