HARTFORD, CT — State Treasurer Denise Nappier, who isn’t seeking re-election in November, said she would abstain Wednesday from approving a $10 million study of electronic highway tolls.
State Comptroller Kevin Lembo and the two Republican lawmakers on the 10-member state Bond Commission have already said they would vote against Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s proposal to study electronic tolls.
Nappier said her biggest concern about the proposal is its narrow focus.
“The state ought to consider a more comprehensive menu of alternative financing sources, including public/private partnerships and other ways we can attract institutional investors, such as pension funds, both domestic and international,” Nappier said. “I also question the nature and timing of the toll study deliverables that would justify the State’s $10 million expenditure as reasonable.”
She said she would only support the proposal if it was broader.
“Absent an expanded study scope, or knowledge of any previous more robust study and its finding that may have previously been shared with the Bond Commission, I am not prepared to vote in favor of this agenda item and, therefore, will abstain,” Nappier said.
Regardless of Nappier’s position the item is still likely to pass with support from the other members of the state Bond Commission.
Nappier was criticized earlier this week by the two Republican state treasurer candidates Thad Gray and Sen. Art Linares for not taking a public position on it.
“This $10 million slap in the face to taxpayers is the latest evidence we need to put a Republican in control of the money,” Linares said.
Gray said Nappier needs to take a position on the proposal and hold the line on borrowing, in addition to protecting the public interests.
Meanwhile, at least one candidate for governor has called for truck-only tolls.
Earlier this week, Joe Sculley, executive director of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, responded to “erroneous reports” that truck drivers pay no additional money to use the roads.
He said Connecticut collects about $26 to $30 million annually from truckers through diesel fuel use taxes for the fuel they use while traveling in Connecticut, regardless if they stop. They also pay out of state vehicle registration fees to the state based on the percentage of miles driven in the state.