HARTFORD, CT – Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano made his way to the state Capitol press room Monday to announce the lack of a consensus on a transportation plan that includes truck-only tolls.
“They need to stop pretending they can pull a deal off because they can’t,” Fasano said.
Last week, following a closed-door caucus, Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said 18 of his 22 members have “not rejected the concept of a bill to toll trucks on bridges only.” However, their votes were contingent on certain changes being made to the draft legislation.
It’s unclear if those changes have been made since the final legislation is not publicly available.
A spokesman for the Democratic caucus dismissed Fasano’s comments.
“Senate Democrats have a policy not to speculate publicly on the inner workings and vote counts of Senate Republicans,” said Kevin Coughlin, a spokesman for the Senate Democrats. “When Senator Looney said the Senate Democratic caucus had a contingent consensus of 18 votes on a transportation plan with tolling only on large trucks with four axels or more, he meant it. We would appreciate if Senator Fasano would stick to leading his 14 member caucus.”
At an unrelated event in Derby on Monday, Lamont said he wants the legislature to vote.
“This is an issue that’s festered for many, many years,” Lamont said. “It’s time for us to fix our transportation.”
Fasano said Lamont is trying to find the “lowest common denominator to get people to vote for a toll bill and he just can’t get there.”
“This is what we were able to negotiate with the legislature and it gets the job done,” Lamont said of his proposal.
He said the difference between the Senate Republican plan and the Democratic proposal, which gets 1% of the revenue from truck tolls, is $300 million.
Fasano said it’s time for them to move forward. He said Democrats had their shot, and now it’s time to consider the Senate Republicans plan dubbed FASTR CT.
Fasano said the deal Senate Democrats were briefed on last week is not the current deal. He said he’s seen no draft legislation, but based on news reports enough may have been changed to cause senators to change their vote.
“I think they’re further apart and not closer together,” Fasano said.
He said no matter how many variables of tolls they try, it “comes down to trust, and you just can’t fix trust.”
No vote has been scheduled yet and the regular legislative session starts on Feb. 5.
Fasano said if they don’t vote on this by the end of the month, he doesn’t believe they will raise the bill during the regular legislative session.
Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director, didn’t hold back on what he thought of Fasano’s comments.
“After walking away from his reckless proposal that lacked support, this is an odd and desperate attempt by Senator Fasano to re-join the transportation conversation,” Reiss said. “What the Lamont administration has proposed, with Senate and House Democrats, is the only plan that creates a 10-year, recession-proof jobs program that will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the right investments in public transit and give more Connecticut residents time at home – all while helping to grow the state’s economy.”
He said Fasano knows that because he’s spent more time with the Lamont administration than with his own caucus on this issue.
“The support is there for CT 2030 – where it isn’t, is for the Senator’s dangerous plan to loot Connecticut’s Rainy Day Fund, leading to tax increases on Connecticut residents, and funding cuts for municipal aid and education during the next recession,” Reiss said. “We are actively working with House and Senate Democratic leadership on a date to vote on this plan, which we know will get Connecticut’s economy moving again.”