It’s not a headline that Connecticut’s roads and bridges are crumbling. That’s been going on for years, if not decades. It’s sad and it’s dangerous to ignore, but that’s exactly what’s been happening for those very same years, if not decades.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Democrats, Republicans, take your pick. Villains abound. But recently, and belatedly, we’ve heard a lot about addressing the problems and fixing them. Regrettably, however, we can’t seem to find agreement on any way to accomplish that.
Democrats have a plan – or plans. Republicans finally came up with their plan. Now, one seems possible, the other some sort of a fantasy. And the fantasy has to do with the fact that the Democrats’ latest plan involves creating some tolls on roads, while the Republican plan involves refusing to consider, discuss or acknowledge tolling as a revenue raiser.
The reason? Republicans say most people in Connecticut oppose any form of tolling. And they may be right. And they also contend that any tolling proposal — Democrats want to place the toll on trucks only — will lead to tolls on cars.
Here’s the response to that notion: most people always oppose anything that might cause them to have to pay more for things. Even if it’s things that matter, that are critical, in fact. And crumbling roads and bridges are critical. Really. It’s human nature to want to pay more for anything. And carrying on about instituting truck tolling automatically leading to car tolling is just ignoring the hard facts of revenue raising.
The Republicans in Connecticut do have a plan. It involves robbing the state’s reserve fund — how bad an idea is that? — and using more bonding to generate funding. Well and good, but the more bonding the state takes on the less there will be for cities and towns around the state, and eventually that will lead to the necessity of higher taxes for everyone. It’s just not a good idea. Where would you stand if faces with tolls or higher property taxes? I think I can guess your answer.
So we’re seemingly at a stalemate. Democrats control the state legislature and ought to be able to pass a plan, but there’s not the kind of party cohesion in the Democratic Party that Republicans exhibit in their single-mindedness. So we may go nowhere. And that’s about where we’ll all be able to get to when roads and bridges disintegrate.
There’s no time to waste to get going on this issue. now, please.