Gov. Ned Lamont shared some of the details of his 10-year, $20 billion “CT 2030” transportation plan during a private meeting with Senate Republican lawmakers yesterday – possibly a sign that the long-awaited plan will soon be unveiled to the public.
As previously reported, CT 2030 includes tolls on 14 highway bridges, instead of the 50 toll gantries on four major highways – the Merritt Parkway and Interstates 84, 91 and 95 – that Lamont had originally proposed.
Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, who along with House Minority Leader Themis Klarides has been a vocal opponent of tolls of any kind, recently indicated that the state GOP might be willing to compromise on the issue if it makes fiscal sense.
The governor’s plan would rely in part on low-interest federal loans, with interest rates at around 2%. The state would have the option of deferring payments or accruing interest until five years after the completion of a major project, which itself would take five to 10 years.
Fasano said yesterday that CT 2030 includes nearly $4 billion in rail improvements designed to shorten commutes and improve Metro-North Railroad service to New York City.
Republicans have been pushing their alternative “Prioritize Progress” plan, which would bypass tolls entirely, calling instead for $684.6 million to $863 million of annual bonding over the next nine years for transportation projects, along with the continuation of Special Tax Obligation bonds for the regular Department of Transportation capital program, and a hard cap of $2 billion on annual general obligation bonds.
Prioritize Progress has been dismissed by Lamont and other Democratic lawmakers as unrealistic.