As Connecticut debates adding tolls to most of its major highways that pass through the state, many residents have been trying to figure out how much this will actually cost them. While 40 percent of the anticipated $800 million in revenue that might be generated by tolls across I-95, I–91, I–84, and the Merritt Parkway is expected to come from out-of-state vehicles, that leaves 60 percent being footed by residents. One aspect that is easily ignored during these debates over such topics is how it can affect small businesses and workers who need to travel, like home care providers.
Home care continues to be an integral part of life for millions of seniors and disabled adults, including thousands upon thousands who live in Connecticut. Home care, by its very definition, refers to professional support services that are provided to those in need at their own home.
This requires home care aides and visiting nurses to travel. If they have to get on the highways, especially in and around major cities where some of these tolls will be established, how much is that going to add to operating expenses?
As reported by the CT Post in its blog, Top Dem throws twist into CT tolls debate, written by Emilie Munson:
“Lamont has promised his tolling plan would have no more than 50 gantries on I-95, 91, 84 and Route 15. He has promised discounts for Connecticut residents and commuters, estimating that the cost per mile for these drivers would be about 4.4 cents.
His office says this plan will bring in $800 million annually probably starting in 2023, after Federal Highway Administration approval is obtained and electronic gantries are installed. The big selling point for Lamont and many Democrats is about 40 percent of this toll revenue would come from out-of-state drivers, they say.
While the Department of Transportation has a $12.1 billion five-year capital spending plan that would cover fiscal years 2019 to 2023, it has not released a longer term plan.”
Many home care agencies, despite various misconceptions, are operating on razor thin budgets. There’s not much more room to maneuver financially and still stay afloat. Adding more tolls could have a significant impact on some home care providers and, ultimately, on the men and women who depend on these services.
Tolls may be necessary to help shore up budget shortfalls, but the unintended consequences could very well impact small businesses and low-wage workers, like home care providers.