In January, The CT Mirror reported that Connecticut Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont gave his “quick endorsement” to Governor Dan Malloy’s statewide electronic highway tolling proposal. Now with tolls having stalled in the state legislature amid significant controversy, Lamont appears to be backing away from Malloy’s plan, with The CT Mirrorreporting now that he claims to support tolls “only for trucks.” Unfortunately for Lamont, his obvious political calculation isn’t fooling anyone.
Lamont claimed earlier this year that, if elected, he would make Malloy’s tolling proposal a “priority from day one.” But now that he’s won his party’s primary, Lamont is desperately trying to distance himself from Malloy’s toxic proposals. Connecticut deserves a governor truly committed to turning the page on failed Democrat policies, not a committed Malloy Enabler who only tells voters what he thinks they want to hear. Lamont cannot escape his support for the worst of Dan Malloy’s policies.
In January, Lamont came out in favor of electronic tolling on the state’s highways. “In addition to his support for a higher minimum wage and paid leave, Lamont is in favor of electronic tolling on the state’s highways.” (Source: Russell Blair, “Ned Lamont Jumps Into Connecticut Governor’s Race,” Hartford Courant, Jan. 17, 2018)
After announcing his run for Governor, Lamont embraced electronic tolling and expressed an openness to expanding the sales-tax base believing that there is a widespread willingness in the state to accept sacrifice. “What Lamont is willing to smash in the name of rebooting the state’s finances and its economy is unclear. He embraced electronic tolling to finance overdue transportation infrastructure, expressed an openness to expanding the sales-tax base and said he believed there is a widespread willingness to accept sacrifice — if it leads to stabilizing the state’s finances and sets the stage for economic growth.” (Source: Mark Pazniokas, “Ned Lamont, who failed to beat Malloy, joins race to succeed him,” CT Mirror, Jan. 17, 2018)
Lamont told an audience at a transportation forum that he was going to make tolls a priority from day one if elected Governor. “At a transportation forum for Democratic and unaffiliated candidates, Griebel offered the broadest prescription for how to stabilize and grow a special transportation fund now projected to hit insolvency by 2022, leaving the state unable to borrow money to address a growing backlog of transportation needs… Many of the Democrats, unlike the Republican field at a similar event a month ago, agreed on the need for the revenue that tolling would bring, while they largely dodged the issue of higher gasoline taxes. Both forums were sponsored by the Connecticut Construction Industries Association.” (Source: Mark Pazniokas, “Ned Lamont, who failed to beat Malloy, joins race to succeed him,” CT Mirror, Jan. 17, 2018)
Lamont explicitly endorsed Malloy’s statewide electronic highway tolling in late January. “The governor’s plan drew a quick endorsement Wednesday from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont, a Greenwich businessman. ‘The funding through electronic tolling will provide infrastructure jobs, improving our traffic problems, and fix our aging roads and bridges,’ Lamont said. ‘For too many years, Connecticut residents have been at a major disadvantage as our neighboring states collect tolls and we offer the use of our roads and bridges for free. Tolling brings Connecticut in line with the region and supports the transportation work we must do to keep our state economically competitive.’” (Source: Keith M. Phaneuf, “Malloy seeks tolls, gas-tax hike to rebuild transportation network,” CT Mirror, Jan. 31, 2018)
Later in July, Lamont changed his stance to support tolls only on out-of-state truckers. “Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, the Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate, has proposed electronic tolling for heavy out-of-state trucks. He said a study isn’t needed ‘to know that our transportation system is a mess.’ Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim welcomed the study, but said it should have been done years ago.” (Source: “Republicans claim Malloy toll study may be waste of money,” Susan Haigh, Associated Press, July 17, 2018)