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The Red Line

Truck-Toll Revenue Would Be a Mirage: Truckers Would Dodge the Gantries


There Are Access Points on I-95 About Every Mile. Trucks Could Dodge a Gantry by "Going Local" for Only a Mile.

There’s a new game in Connecticut. It’s called dodge-a-gantry. Right now, it is only a virtual game being played on Google Maps.

Governor Lamont's latest toll plan – he’s had many – is to toll only tractor-trailer trucks at just 12 highway bridges in the state. So what are truckers doing? They are getting ready to game Lamont’s proposed system. They are researching the best toll evasion routes, i.e. the best local roads to use to bypass the intended highway gantry locations.

The governor and his advisers have failed to take into account a unique and fundamental obstacle to imposing tolls in Connecticut.

Almost all existing toll roads in other states are limited-access highways. Vehicles travel for several miles between entry-exit access points. To exit and re-enter these highways in order to evade tolls is an onerous proposition. Actually, in most instances, it is impossible, because every entry-exit access point has a gantry or toll booth, where vehicles are logged in and out and charged for the distance they have traveled.

In contrast, Connecticut’s highways are uniquely open-access with short distances between entry-exit points.

In neighboring Massachusetts, the Mass Pike (I-90) has 24 entry-exit points (and 24 toll locations) over the 141 miles from West Stockbridge to downtown Boston. Here in Connecticut, I-95 has 91 access points over the 105 miles from Greenwich to Stonington.

Erecting tolls at all 91 would be absurd and exorbitantly expensive. Alternatively, gantries spanning across traffic on I-95 would invite trucks to jump off just before a gantry and re-enter a few miles further along just past the gantry.

The proposed high toll rates for trucks would provide motivation to truckers to evade the gantries.

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