A new poll from Sacred Heart University shows a majority of state residents oppose electronic highway tolls, which Gov. Ned Lamont has said are necessary to pay for needed infrastructure improvements.
Fifty-nine percent of residents oppose tolls with 34.7 percent in favor. Opposition was stronger among older drivers, according to the poll.
More than half of respondents (54.5 percent) said they would change their daily travel habits to avoid tolls.
Lamont’s office pointed out that tolls polled better when respondents were asked whether or not they would support highway tolls if it could be ensured the money would only be spent on roads, bridges and highways under the “transportation lockbox” voters approved last year.
“The majority of Connecticut residents — over 50 percent — likely support tolling when they learn that the funds generated will be subject to protections, such as the state transportation lockbox, as approved by Connecticut voters, as well as federal law that mandates use on transportation infrastructure only,” Colleen Flanagan Johnson, a senior adviser to Lamont, said in a written statement.
The wide-ranging, 42-question poll was the first released by the Fairfield-based university since November’s gubernatorial election. It asked state residents their views on quality of life in Connecticut, tolling, school safety, e-cigarettes, housing and border security.
A combined 59.3 percent of respondents said quality of life in Connecticut was excellent or good. But 62.2 percent of respondents said it was “difficult” to maintain their standard of living, most frequently citing high taxes and the high costs of goods and utilities as the reasons why.
On school safety, respondents were split when asked if they believed increasing the number of trained and armed teachers in schools was an effective strategy, with 48.8 percent saying no and 47.2 percent saying yes. On e-cigarettes, 76.9 percent support raising the age to purchase them from 18 to 21 and 70.8 percent support increasing taxes on them.
A majority of the respondents (51.9 percent) strongly or somewhat support Congress allocating additional money for security along the U.S.-Mexico border but only 39.3 percent said that money should go toward a physical wall.
The poll surveyed 1,004 state residents from Feb. 14 through March 4 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.