Westchester County Executive George Latimer submitted the following testimony to the Connecticut State Legislature on the proposal for a toll on Interstate 684 at the Greenwich-North Castle border. The hearing is set to take place on Friday, January 31 at 1 p.m. at the Connecticut Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT. Latimer’s testimony is as follows:

“Westchester County has always welcomed a partnership with our neighbors in Connecticut. We have worked cohesively on the issues that connect us – Westchester County Airport, the Long Island Sound and other border matters. We understand that Connecticut has a significant budget gap to close, and lingering infrastructure needs. But, while we are sympathetic to the need for revenue – those needs are not unique to the State of Connecticut.

“The proposed toll site on the one-mile stretch of Interstate 684 in Greenwich is used primarily by New York traffic, both trucks and passenger cars, and a toll here to benefit the State of Connecticut would be an unfair taxation of those who do not have a voice. It would be the same as if we placed a toll on the Port Chester side of the Interstate 95 Bridge that crosses over the Byram River. Connecticut stands to gain an estimated $13 million dollars to rehabilitate that causeway – a tremendous enhancement to the state’s transportation needs – and an additional $5 million dollars per year in revenue for the Greenwich toll. But the tax would largely be on the backs of New York State truck drivers. As the Journal News pointed out, approximately 85 percent of motorists using that small stretch are coming from out of state.   

“We don’t believe in retaliatory border tolls. We are all neighbors, and this will create an unhealthy relationship between the two states. The fear is that even with a toll on trucks only, avoidance traffic would follow on New York’s local roads, primarily Route 120 and Route 22. Drivers could exit the Interstate at Westchester County Airport and drive up Route 120 to Route 22, to continue on their journey north. The congestion would clog one lane in each direction for those seeking to skip the toll, and some impact would result on Connecticut side roads as well. This will ultimately become a real quality-of-life issue for all those who live and work close by.

“Ultimately - this toll enables the enhancement of Connecticut’s infrastructure, by imposing a toll on New York’s commuters without justification. As Westchester officials, we are tasked to protect Westchester’s residents, and will continue to do so in the future as this proposal moves forward.  We urge you to reconsider the proposal for a toll on Interstate 684, and forego that toll option. Thank you.”