Why not stop raiding highway revenues before installing tolls?

No pol here

No pol here

Connecticut, like many states, is moaning over lack of money to repair its roads and the Hartford Yahoos want to bring back tolls to fund the “General Transportation Fund’s coffers. As usual, the GT/Courant’s  report on the issue ignores the real issue, which is the diversion of fuel tax revenues to social redistribution projects like welfare and pet projects in legislators’ home districts. This year, only half the money collected from gasoline taxes is put into the fund and that’s actually an improvement: most years, for decades, the huge bulk of the money (75%, often), never sees pavement. Now they cry poverty.

Here’s the deal: giving money to politicians only guarantees that they’ll spend three times what they get their hands on. The gasoline tax won’t drop (see article above: “we can’t afford to”) and the toll revenue won’t go to repair bridges – history proves it. Hartford’s been raiding the highway fund since it was first created and it doesn’t spend the money for its purported justification, roads, because no politician in the history of the world has ever been photographed by the press in front of a bridge-painting crew. It’s new welfare clinics and free housing projects that accomplish that minor miracle, so that’s what’s done with it.

As an aside, but related, New Jersey collects both tolls and gasoline taxes, yet because it’s been diverting 100% of those revenues down its exit ramps and borrowing more money to pay for the occasional repaving, 100% of its highway revenue is spent on debt service for that previous borrowing and the fund is now bankrupt. This may be  Bob Horton’s and the Greenwich Democrat’s solution to maintaining Greenwich’s own infrastructure, but it’s a lousy way to run a railroad.

Just like all their other ideas.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Why not stop raiding highway revenues before installing tolls?

  1. I am a bit confused by Sen. Franz’s logic on why a border toll would be less desirable to our legislators than say a nice $5 charge between Stamford and Norwalk. Explain please why they would vote for a mid-county location, rather than the $5 “Welcome to Greenwich – New England’s Gateway.” Of course there is the alternative entry point – Mill River Bridge, or the always popular 1909 Rt 1 crossing of the Byram River. Good luck with that.

    Rep. Walko from Byram, who has the longest commute to Hartford, seems dis-inclined to think this will be a problem for Byram.

  2. D

    I’m shocked to learn that we had a toll and it was actually removed! Whatever the 1987 trade was to remove them must have been significant.

    As always, government should be starved of tax money at every opportunity. More money = more waste.

  3. FF

    It is heard from many that you should run government like your house or your business. Fair enough, but when your driveway looks like crap, your house loses value. How many times has an agent instructed a client to clean something, fix a roof, repave a driveway in order to preserve the inherent value of the property. If you dont do so, the property loses value. So, if you don’t have the money to fix the driveway, you have two choices – either borrow money with the anticipation that the investment will enhance the value and derive a payback, or you settle for the rather proper inference that your property is of lesser value and accept less.
    That’s the essential case for Greenwich right now.We have a 100 year old infrastructure that occasionally explodes spewing sewage into the water. We have many schools that are dangerously deficient. We have a Town bureaucracy which is top heavy in some places and woefully deficient in others (can you remember a positive trip to the Building Dept.). We have old pensions that are commitments that have to be met, no matter how much you want to 401k the current players. And, we dont have the money in the kitty to pay for it as we go. And everyone sees our crappy driveway and judges our value because of that, Greenwich is judged as deficient and in part because of that your property values suffer. If you dont believe that, read your old posts. Not a lot of positive comments there.
    The time passed where a sensible long-term budget based on a pay as you go system is doable for Greenwich. The gimmicks our current administration is trying are getting laughable and people don’t move to and live in Greenwich to accept excessive shared sacrifice, especially in a town whose municipal budget approximates that of New Orleans. Take your favorite conservative American mecca – Texas, say, and lets budget just like they do which is, of course, sensible long term borrowing based on real tax revenue projections. We could even adopt their once-every-two-years budgeting. But we still need to fix the driveway, no matter the method.

    • GreenITCH

      FF please run for First Selectman !

      • Again? Must this poor man’s punishment never cease?

        • Cos Cobber

          I just took a stroll down Rte 1 to New Rochelle through Rye, Mamaroneck & Larchmont. For all its high tax glory, I saw the same faltering infrastructure and less than impressive school buildings and other public facilities. Yes, Greenwich needs a plan to stay on top of infrastructure, but how could anyone expect the union labor loving Democrats to do it is crazy…unless your expectation is that we should load up on 40 year debt and spend it on 25 year assets and ensuring union labor wins all of the work.

        • hmmm

          yeah, please run again, i want to see the drubbing

  4. Anon

    There’s never a lack of road repair workers on any CT road when it’s a holiday or a Friday night and people are escaping CT for their weekend houses in VT or NH. It’s a conspiracy I tell you. A freaking conspiracy.

  5. GreenITCH

    We have infrastructure ? Oh yeah those Park Benches ….

  6. Cos Cobber

    If we are going to add tolls we must have tolls in Hartford and New Haven counties too, not just at the state borders. Their communities need to experience the suffering that tolls bring (traffic and increased use of local roads to avoid tolls by local commuters).

    • hmmm

      I am all for tolls give it to the folks that voted for them…put one right in norwalk so the commuters whow work in stamford who voted for these folks can see how much they really care.