Letter: Toll bill creates a veil of secrecy

To the editor,

Thanks to Gov. Ned Lamont, it is quite likely that Connecticut will have tolls on all highways in the state as soon as they can be built.

Despite Mr. Lamont’s campaign pledge less than six months ago to “toll only trucks,” now Gov. Lamont is putting forth the framework to toll all Connecticut residents on all Connecticut highways.

Whether someone supports tolls or not, state legislators are hiding behind a seemingly simple, but diabolical phrase placed into the language of a proposed toll bill.

The language in raised Bill 7280 states the bill is deemed approved by the General Assembly after 15 days after an informational hearing without a vote by the legislature.

What does that mean? It means that state legislators can sit on their hands (not vote), then wait 15 days, and the bill is deemed approved even though it was not voted on.

This creates a veil of secrecy surrounding the vote, so that at re-election time state legislators can say “I did not vote for tolls,” when in actuality, purposefully not voting while knowing full well that the “deemed approved” language is in the bill, is by omission, a vote for tolls.

What can people do about that? They can contact their state legislators by email, and specifically ask them if they support or oppose tolls. Assuming a response, people will then have written confirmation on how their representatives will vote.

People should consider that response, when their state legislator runs for re-election. Or do nothing at all, and then refrain from complaining about tolls, because they chose to take no action.

James E Hagan Jr.

Beacon Falls