christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (christine stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — Legislative leaders said there were no hard feelings about Gov. Ned Lamont’s decision to abandon the idea of truck-only tolls.

At separate press conferences Thursday, legislative leaders said they welcome a discussion about a path forward for improving transportation in the state.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, said if anything, the nearly year-long debate over tolls made everyone aware of the issue and the consensus that something needs to get done to improve Connecticut’s transportation system.

“It was a very difficult time for my caucus,” Aresimowicz said. However, “that’s all behind us we still have the issue of transportation funding to solve.”

He said he couldn’t continue to put the entire General Assembly on hold over this one issue.

“We’re moving on,” he added.

Aresimowicz said at some point “we all have to suffer some level of defeat in this business.”

He said Lamont and his staff continue to roll with it and they don’t seem to hold grudges.

Aresimowicz said he welcomes a discussion about borrowing for transportation improvements even though it’s not “our best path forward,” because it won’t help access the lowest interest rates from the federal government.

“I’m prepared as a tolls supporter to move on from tolls,” Aresimowicz added.

Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said he had offered to flip a coin with Aresimowicz to decide which chamber would vote on truck-only tolls first.

Aresimowicz declined.

Looney said it’s been a difficult process and his caucus has tried to be creative in order to help get the legislation over the finish line.

On Wednesday, Looney asked for five more days before a debate on the bill would be held. He said the Republicans threatened a 30-hour filibuster, which would have required his members to make changes to their schedules.

“A few more days shouldn’t make a difference, but in this case apparently it did,” Looney said.

Looney said he doesn’t place the blame on anyone for the governor’s decision to pull the plug on the debate. He added that he doesn’t have any hard feelings over the decision.

“We’re hoping we can get back to the issue later in the session when there’s a consensus on a revised plan,” Looney said.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said they could still debate his proposal which would use money from the Rainy Day Fund to pay off some of the unfunded pension liabiltiy.

Aresimowicz and Looney both said they’re not interested in taking money from the Rainy Day Fund for that purpose.

Fasano said this is not an issue that’s going to define relationships “in this building.”

He said he’s still willing to work with anybody to find a solution.

Aresimowicz on toll defeat

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz addresses the defeat of truck-only tolls. Says they are moving on and there’s no hard feelings

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Senator Martin Looney talks about defeat of toll proposal

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano on tolls.

Posted by CTNewsJunkie on Thursday, February 20, 2020