Milford aldermen compromise on toll resolution

Republicans and Democrats on Milford’s Board of Aldermen voted Monday night on a compromise resolution in opposition to state tolls on highways in or near Milford.
Republican Minority Leader Anthony Giannattasio presented a resolution during the public speaking portion of the monthly board meeting, with the hope of having the matter on the agenda at the May Board of Aldermen’s meeting.
The resolution states that the Milford aldermen believe the implementation of tolls on Connecticut highways will result in increased traffic in Milford, which Republicans earlier noted has “more exit and entrance ramps on Interstate 95 than any other municipality in the state of Connecticut, two exits on the Merritt Parkway, and the Milford Parkway that connects I-95 and the Merritt Parkway.”
The GOP resolution says there will be increases in heavy-duty commercial trucks and other vehicles using Milford’ secondary roads to avoid highway tolls, increasing traffic and pollution in Milford.
The resolution declares opposition to the tolls on Connecticut highways “within the jurisdiction of the City of Milford or within close proximity thereof.”
Instead of waiting for May, Democrats made a motion to add the resolution to Monday’s agenda, which passed unanimously. Democrat Frank Smith said the issue “simply isn’t that simple” and said the state’s infrastructure is in “dire disrepair.” Smith said it isn’t enough to oppose tolls without offering a way to fund infrastructure improvements.
Democrat Anthony Sutton proposed an amendment to the resolution that put a Democratic spin on the Republican drafted document. His amendment states that Connecticut transportation infrastructure is in serious disrepair, and may require more than a $1 billion investment. It states support of investing in the infrastructure “while also responsibly identifying ways to fund this investment without furthering the deep financial crisis our state already faces by borrowing the funds and pushing the debt burden onto our children and grandchildren.”
Republicans, in the minority on the board, were faced with either voting for the revised resolution, which Giannattasio initially said he would not support because it was “convoluted” and “contradictive”, or voting against it, and making it appear they did not oppose tolls.
Giannattasio and Alderman Janet Golden, a Democrat, both referenced Milford’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, when they marched near Gov. Ned Lamont. They said they heard people booing and yelling “no tolls” as the governor passed. Both said they took that as a clear message that people here do not want tolls.
After a recess, the Republicans voted in favor of the amended resolution.
Republican Town Committee Chairman Ray Kirmaier, who attended the meeting with a group of party members who oppose state tolls, called the final resolution a “compromise.”