Editorial: A Lesson On Quasi-Publics and Tolling

in Editorials/Port Authority

By any measure I should be an easy ‘get’ for the Lamont administration on transportation.

Months ago I actually penned an opinion piece for CT Mirror advocating for the new administration’s signature transportation project to speed travel times to 30 minutes by rail between paired cities: Hartford and New Haven, New Haven and Stamford, Stamford and New York City.

As opposition blossomed across Connecticut to the governor’s support for tolling, I sat on the fence — attracted by the idea of capturing out-of-state dollars, but wary of overhead, accountability and what could be construed as a near perfect clawback of Earned Income Tax Credits into the general fund.

But given the lesson of the Connecticut Port Authority — a quasi-public with oversight over millions of public dollars, that nearly dissolved this summer, with barely a question or curiosity in the legislature’s Transportation Committee — I have to ask myself, how could I support tolling that requires the creation of a new quasi-public authority with oversight over vastly more public dollars?

With the Lamont administration reportedly set to introduce a plan for limited tolls and a scaled-back version of 30-30-30, and the Port Authority scheduled to complete comments on a draft audit this Wednesday, there was never a better time for the legislature to clear the air, and call for hearings.