Some of Connecticut’s bumpiest roads will remain that way for the foreseeable future, as Gov. Dannel Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker have indefinitely postponed hundreds of projects totaling $4.3 billion.
The postponements – which include the widening of Interstate 95 from Bridgeport to Stamford, completing the interchange between Routes 15 and 7 in Norwalk, and reconstruction of I-84 between exits 3 and 8 in Danbury – will remain in effect until new revenue is appropriated for the Special Transportation Fund.
The fund finances the state’s transportation system, including the operating costs of the CTDOT and all of the services it provides. Last month, Malloy reiterated and increased his warnings on the solvency of the fund following the release of a report showing that without prompt action, the fund will be in deficit by fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018.
The governor warned that even routine highway maintenance and transportation aid to cities and towns are seriously jeopardized.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” he said. “If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be.
“This is preventable, but it requires immediate action,” Malloy said. “The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
“This isn’t a problem that can be punted until future years,” Redeker added.
“The cupboard is bare,” said state Rep. Tony Guerrera, co-chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee. “We sit at the precipice of a transportation tragedy that can be avoided by investing in roads and bridges. We must act immediately in the 2018 legislative session and institute tolls or another revenue stream to avert the oncoming crisis.”
The governor said he will release his recommendations to ensure the solvency of the STF in advance of the 2018 legislative session, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 7.
“Governor Malloy continues to act as if the state’s transportation funding problems came out of nowhere,” said Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano. “But this is not a surprise. Over the last four years alone Governor Malloy and legislative Democrats took $164 million from the state’s special transportation fund to balance their budgets. Governor Malloy then authorized a transportation spending plan he knew couldn’t be supported by the fund.
“His plan spent more than the STF had with no way to pay for it,” Fasano continued, “purposefully plunging the special transportation fund further into deficit.
Fasano said that Malloy and fellow Democrats are now “trying to use the problem they created to force the legislature to approve new taxes and more burdens on commuters. That has been their game plan all along.”
Fasano said that the Republicans’ Prioritize Progress transportation funding plan introduced in 2015 “would have stabilized the (fund) and relieved the burden on (the fund’s) bonding obligations, but that would require eliminating Governor Malloy’s ability to put political giveaways on the state’s credit card.”
The list of CTDOT projects now postponed indefinitely can be found here.