Building Trades & AFL-CIO Leaders Send Joint Letter to Senate & House Caucuses Urging Bold Leadership to Pass Toll Proposal Quickly

HARTFORD – Leaders in the Connecticut State Building Trades Council and officers of the Connecticut AFL-CIO sent a jointly signed letter this morning to the state Senate and House Democratic Caucuses urging them to pass legislation to implement electronic tolling as quickly as possible.

The renewed call for the passage of electronic tolling in the state by the twenty four labor leaders is a show of the unity in the labor movement which hopes to get the proposal over the finish line as negotiations have stalled.

In 2018, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Connecticut a C- grade on the state’s infrastructure networks. They found that “much of Connecticut’s infrastructure is over 50 years old, meaning it is beyond its intended life… Investing in infrastructure will foster opportunities for our economy to grow in a sustainable fashion and support ongoing prosperity.”

In addition to the badly needed infrastructure improvements that will occur with the passage of electronic tolling, the letter explains how tolling will benefit the state’s economy and overall job growth.

Although the number of private sector jobs in Connecticut have more than fully recovered since the Great Recession, the construction industry has only regained 88% of the nearly 21,000 jobs that were lost. As of March 31, 2019, there were 60,700 construction jobs in the state.

“When our members are employed, not only do they do the essential work of building our infrastructure, they pay taxes and contribute to overall economic growth,” said the letter. “It is important for our economy that Connecticut invest heavily in infrastructure projects that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says, ‘will boost productivity, support business growth, create jobs, provide a healthier environment, and improve opportunities for all of [their] residents.’”

The letter also notes that they support a tolling proposal that includes discounts for Connecticut residents, tax credits for low-income residents, and a reduction in bus fares.

It is estimated that once fully implemented, electronic tolling will raise $800 million for our Special Transportation Fund with 40% of those dollars coming from out-of-state drivers who use the state’s highways but currently pay nothing for maintenance and repairs.

The letter was signed by the five officers of the Connecticut AFL-CIO and the twenty leaders of the Connecticut State Building and Construction Trades Council (David Roche serves as both an officer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO and leader in the Building Trades).

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