Sen. Boucher: Tolling press conference shows Democrats with dollar signs in their eyes

Transportation Committee Co-Chair Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) said today’s press conference on electronic tolls showed that Democrats only answer to the state’s problems is to ask for more money.

“The Democrats’ press conference started by talking about tolls, but it wasn’t long before they were talking about increasing the gas tax and increasing rail and bus fares,” Sen. Boucher said. “Democrats have dollar signs in their eyes that keep them from seeing other possible solutions, including the need to examine how Connecticut spends its transportation money. Our state transportation projects have some of the highest administrative costs in the nation. Why aren’t we talking about that?”

When asked by the press, Democrats at the press conference made it clear that any plan for tolls would encompass more than the state’s borders. Democrats acknowledged that tolls would be placed on highways throughout the state, as well as exit and entrance ramps.

“Where does it stop?” Sen. Boucher asked. “No matter how many taxes Democrats create and increase, there’s never enough money. Once again, they stand in front of the media, hat in hand, and say they need more.”

Sen. Boucher said she finds the timing of the press conference interesting. Last week, Department of Transportation Commission James Redeker spoke to New Canaan residents about the possibility of rail fare increases. He said the problems with the Special Transportation Fund are the result of money that was taken out of the fund for non-transportation purposes.

“You can’t say siphoning money out of the fund is the problem, but the solution is generating money from other sources,” she said. “How are taxpayers to believe it won’t be more of the same?”

Sen. Boucher said it’s time for the legislature to look at how transportation products are prioritized, budgeted, and monitored.

“Asking taxpayers for more money without a thorough accounting of how it is spent is irresponsible,” she said.

Sen. Boucher represents the communities of Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, and Wilton.