Border Tolls Will Crowd Danbury, Ridgefield, Sherman and New Fairfield Roads

Local planning director reminds legislature the state studied border tolls in 2009, and the idea came up short.

Regional Planning Director Jonathan Chew sent a border toll traffic study to the state Transportation Committee Friday saying the 2009 report gave border tolls a failing grade.

Connecticut has frequently flown trial balloons about reopening the state's highway tolls, and in 2011 four separate bills seeking to reopen tolls were considered. In 2013, the state legislature is again considering tolls as a means of raising money in a weak economy. The state's tolls closed in 1983 after a fatal crash at a toll booth in Stratford and after complaints about traffic congestion caused by tolls.

The report points to yet another problem.

"Traffic diversion to local routes could have negative impacts on water and air quality, community ambiance, bicycle and pedestrian safety and quality, noise, energy consumption and cultural/historic resources," the study said.

Drivers will get off 684 and drive into Connecticut through Ridgefield, or drive past Danbury and take local roads into Sherman or New Fairfield. Other drivers will take local roads into Danbury, the study said. Danbury Legislators Robert Godfrey, D-Danbury, and state Senator Michael McLachlan have opposed tolls for years.

Chew sent the study to the transportation committee as his testimony as the executive director of the Housatonic Valley Council of Elected Officials.

The study says drivers are well known to avoid tolls by taking exit ramps and driving around the toll plazas.

The study estimated 13,800 cars per day would take Route 6 or Route 202 to avoid the tolls. Other drivers would drive through Ridgefield, while others would detour through New Fairfield or Sherman.

"Traffic shifts from I-684 and I-84 will most likely use Route 116, Route 121, Route 35 and Ridgebury Road," the report said, pushing the traffic into Ridgefield.

Despite those projections, Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said in a letter to members of HVCEO he wished the council had voted on the decision to oppose tolls, rather than send the 2009 study to Hartford without a vote.

"Personally, I would rather see tolls implemented, as has been done in just about every other New England State, than a flat car tax," Marconi wrote to HVCEO.

Steven DeVaux February 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM
Higher taxes for everyone in the state or tolls? Unfortunately I think the votes will be clear when the spring thaw comes.
Bam Bam February 23, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Uhm, how about neither? Maybe the state should cut its spending and live in within its means like the rest of us. Really tolls or more taxes in a weak economy? What is wrong with you people!
Anita February 24, 2013 at 12:14 AM
LOL what year is that photo from??


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