No Tolls CT to host protest in Ridgefield Saturday (UPDATED)

At right, Mike Johnson of New Canaan joins with others from the anti-toll group No Tolls CT, as they stage a protest in front of the Government Center on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 in Stamford, Connecticut.
At right, Mike Johnson of New Canaan joins with others from the anti-toll group No Tolls CT, as they stage a protest in front of the Government Center on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 in Stamford, Connecticut.

No Tolls CT will host a protest at the corner of Copps Hill Road and Danbury Road in Ridgefield from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 27.

The goal of the protest is to fight impending toll legislation. Attendees are asked to bring a No Tolls CT sign.

There will be No Tolls CT petition available to sign. The petition is approaching 100,000 signatures.

"Tolls are a multiple edged sword for us here in Ridgefield," said West Mountain Road resident Wayne Floegel, who recommended Ridgefield as a possible protest site to No Tolls CT. "They'll increase traffic in our northern end, with driver avoiding them on the New York border. And they'll also increase the cost of traveling around the state."

Floegel, who moved to town from Illinois three years ago, said he didn't know how many people would turn out to Saturday's rally on Danbury Road but he knows that tolls have been a hot button issue since November's election.

"We have 18 local governments who have committed to no toll resolutions — these are towns that are telling the governor that they're not going to put up with it," he said. "It's disrespectful to the voters."

Floegel was sworn in as the new Republican Registrar in January.

Beside traffic woes, he's worried about the potential increase on goods and service. He's also concerned that if tolls are built in Connecticut that the revenue won't be directed to the right areas.

"Legislators can't be trusted with money their given," he said. "We have a spending problem. We need to cut spending and practice fiscal responsibility before taxing our drivers and putting tolls on the road every six miles."

Floegel, who has been to three anti-toll rallies this year, said he would be relying on No Tolls CT for a lot of support for Ridgefield's protest this weekend.

"They have the infrastructure to organize a mass effort," he said. "All are invited to come. .... Tolls will affect everyone. No matter how much money you make we will all have to pay. There's no discount."

He said people who support tolls have been fed misinformation.

"I feel bad for those people," Floegel said. "People who are for tolls, I'm really curious to see how they can justify it. It's going to affect everyone's bottom line. It's not just trucks, it's not just out of state folks. It's all of us here in this state and that's why more people should get involved."

"...Our small businesses and our companies will have to pay for it and they're going to pass those increases on their bottom line off to us, the customers," he said. "Local businesses will get taxed and when they do they'll pass it down to us. Ultimately all the money will come from us, the taxpayers."

He said he choose the intersection of Danbury Road and Copps Hill Road because of the high visibility of traffic.

He was also cognizant of being near people's property.

"It's a state issue," he said. "I didn't want to bring into downtown because that's not the issue here. This isn't about Main Street traffic, although I'm sure that'll increase over time if we have tolls throughout the state.

"It'll only be one hour," he concluded. "I'm interested to see how many people come out and how many sign the petition. There are a lot of angry people and I think there will be even more when they realize how it will impact not only their commute to work but also their personal budgets and, of course, the traffic it will bring to town.

"It's hard to project — Ridgefield will remain a charming town but it's going to be busier than it already is now, and we are community that believes strongly in a healthy lifestyle," Floegel concluded. "Tolls will make everything more difficult, including walking, biking and running. I feel sorry for everyone involved if it passes."

For more information on No Tolls CT, email Patrick Sasser