HARTFORD, CT — The public will have to wait a few more days to get a glimpse of the final draft of the 10-year, $19-billion transportation package.
Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday submitted their final revisions to the Legislative Commissioners Office to be drafted for a public hearing next week.
Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said a Tuesday afternoon meeting between legislative leaders and the chairs of the Transportation Committee would help nail down ideas that existed in concept, “but need to be reduced to statutory language.”
There will be a five-day public notice period before a public hearing is held, according to the rules of the General Assembly. No final bill has been drafted yet, but it’s expected to be ready in time for a public hearing next week.
“The thing that we are worried about since we are not in regular session and we are a part-time legislature – there are people who have other plans and a vote of this kind is one we don’t want anyone to miss,” Looney said Tuesday.
There are 22 Democratic Senators, which means 18 of them would need to vote in favor of the legislation for it to pass.
“We have to schedule it at a time when we can get everyone here,” Looney said.
He said both chambers will have to do a “careful headcount” in order to schedule a vote.
Looney declined to commit to pulling together a special session before the start of the regular session on Feb. 5.
Asked if he was concerned about Rhode Island’s recent revision to its spending from truck-only tolls, Looney said their plan is still only to have tolls on large trucks on bridges.
Connecticut’s plan is exactly the same as Rhode Island’s when it comes to the size of the trucks it would toll and the number of gantries it is proposing to erect.
On Monday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s new budget reduced the amount of toll revenue it planned to use from $25 million to just $8.5 million.
As of last month, five of the 12 planned toll gantries in Rhode Island were in operation. That’s half the number the Rhode Island Department of Transportation had expected under a schedule released back in May.
Connecticut legislative leaders have said they expect Connecticut’s truck-only tolls to raise about $150 million to $175 million per year. That toll revenue is then expected to help Connecticut leverage federal loans.
“Federal loans – if they are even granted – are going to have to be repaid,” said Joe Sculley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut. “If truck toll revenue is not there, it will have to come from car tolls, or increased income taxes, or sales taxes, or gas taxes, or all of the above.”
Democratic lawmakers have vowed to include language in the legislation that would make it clear they have no intention of tolling passenger vehicles.