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    Tuesday, July 23, 2024

    Tolls could be coming to Massachusetts-Connecticut border, but Lamont not a fan

    Milford — A Massachusetts transportation official's recommendation for border tolls prompted minority Republicans in the Connecticut state Senate on Wednesday to ask Gov. Ned Lamont to use his influence to help kill the idea.

    Senate Minority Leader Stephen Harding and other members of his caucus, noting that Lamont recently dismissed the idea of tolls in Connecticut, said more tolls in Massachusetts would amount to an economic hit on their constituents who are employed or shop in the neighboring state.

    "We urge him to also tell Massachusetts to forget this bad border tolls idea," the lawmakers said in a joint statement. "It will serve as a tax on Connecticut residents, especially on those who live near the Massachusetts border and who work in Massachusetts. Things are expensive enough for hard-working people and their families. They do not want tolls."

    Last month, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey said she opposes new tolls, but earlier this month, a state senator from Worcester proposed studying the issue.

    Speaking to reporters after a Wednesday afternoon news conference focused on tourism, Lamont discounted the possible expansion of tolls beyond the Massachusetts Turnpike.

    "Look, I don't think it's a great idea, obviously," Lamont said at Silver Sands State Park. "It's a cost. It doesn't help tourism. I also know that they're trying to pay for their roads and bridges. I've been there before. I talk to Maura Healy all the time, a very good friend," Lamont said. "This is the type of thing we talk about offline. We say what are our states doing together to make sure our transportation system works?"

    During his 2018 campaign and his first term in office, Lamont proposed tolls, but was rejected by the Democratic majority in the General Assembly, which finally adopted a highway use tax for big trucks that is on-track to produce $65 million in annual revenue.

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