Focus should be On Redesigning, Reconstructing and Upgrading I-95 to Improve Traffic Flow and Air Quality
Restoring tolls on Interstate 95 is a bad idea that will worsen traffic congestion and aggravate air pollution problems in Fairfield County, state Representative Lawrence G. Miller said today.
With Connecticut facing a deficit that could go as high as $1.35 billion by the time the current fiscal year ends June 30th and by as much as $8 billion over the next two years, many state legislators are once again proposing the restoration of tolls on major state highways like I-95 to generate more revenues, said Representative Miller, R-122nd District.
“Even without toll booths on I-95, backups stemming from fender-benders are common occurrences that can bring traffic to a virtual standstill for hours at a time,” Representative Miller said. “Even if an E-Z Pass electronic toll system was put in place, manned toll booths would still be necessary to accommodate non-commuters, out-of-state motorists and interstate commercial operators who do not utilize the E-Z Pass system. With non-electronic toll booths in place, traffic congestion, especially in Fairfield County, would be far worse than it is today.”
“With more vehicles waiting in line to pay tolls with their engines idling and spewing out more pollutants, Connecticut’s air quality, already among the nation’s worst, will be further aggravated, contributing to even higher rates of chronic diseases such as cancer, COPD, asthma, heart disease and diabetes. Many of those new toll stations would be on I-95, which has the worst air quality in Connecticut,” Representative Miller said.
“Connecticut’s overall health rating is 34, placing us in the bottom one-third of all the states. Our state’s air quality has been given an ‘F’ by the American Lung Association. Can Connecticut’s air quality get even worse? Yes it can – if toll booths are allowed to pop up again on I-95,” Representative Miller said. “When Mike Riley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut Inc. said recently that our state is ‘choking to death,’ he was referring to congestion on I-95 and its effects on the citizens of Fairfield County.”
“I-95 was built 50 years ago for a Connecticut that no longer exists. In Fairfield County, where I-95′s worst design failure is its excessive number of exit and entrance ramps, roadbeds and bridges are deteriorating at an alarming rate. I-95 is incapable of handling the increased traffic it has seen since it opened in the 1950′s,” Representative Miller said.
“Instead of calling for the restoration of toll booths on I-95 and other major highways in Connecticut, the state legislature’s majority Democrats should be focusing on proposals to redesign, reconstruct and upgrade our state’s limited access highways, particularly I-95,” Representative Miller said. “Calling for the restoration of tolls on I-95 is pure insanity. It tells me the state legislature is more concerned about seizing more of our taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars than it is about the health of our citizens.”