Connecticut AFL-CIO Endorses Electronic Tolling

The Connecticut AFL-CIO officially endorsed electronic tolling at their executive board meeting earlier this week. The state federation joins the state’s building trades unions who have already strongly endorsed tolls because of the opportunities for state residents to go to work building and repairing transportation systems that will lead to a healthier economy and better transportation for everyone.

“Anyone driving on Connecticut’s roads can see that our transportation system is in dire need of repair,” said Sal Luciano, President of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. “A modern transportation system is vital to our state’s economic growth and prosperity. In order to repair and build out our aging transportation system, a reliable and long term funding source needs to be secured. Electronic tolling, estimated to raise $800 million dollars per year, is the most sensible way to fund these critically needed investments.”

Connecticut has among the most poorly rated roads and bridges in the entire country. The state also stands out for being the only one on the entire east coast that does not currently have electronic tolls.

“Connecticut is the only state on the entire eastern seaboard that doesn’t have some type of tolling system,” said David Roche, President of the Connecticut State Building and Construction Trades Council. “With deteriorating infrastructure, we simply don’t have the luxury of relying on the gas tax alone to fully fund our Special Transportation Fund. In fact, 33.5 percent of Connecticut’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, which is well above the national average of 23 percent.”

Other options, such as borrowing billions of dollars, have been suggested as alternatives to implementing tolls. The Connecticut AFL-CIO noted, however, that borrowing to repair our state’s infrastructure will cost far more than implementing tolls.

“Everyone agrees that we need to make critical investments in our aging infrastructure,” said Luciano. “The question is how we pay for it. To the labor movement, the choice is a simple one – do we want to have Connecticut residents pay the entire cost, or do we want out-of-state drivers to contribute 40% of the cost? The answer is clear.”

The Connecticut AFL-CIO supports electronic tolling that would provide discounts to frequent users and low income drivers in the state.

Implementing tolls and investing in the state’s infrastructure will also be a boon for Connecticut’s economy. From making it easier to move goods around the state to hiring thousands of construction workers to rebuild our transportation system, Connecticut will experience real economic growth and a greener environment.

“The Building Trades represent thousands of skilled construction workers across Connecticut who are trained and certified to meet our state’s workforce demands,” said Roche. “We are ready to go to work to bring our state’s infrastructure into the 21st century and beyond.”

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