Sen. Boucher statement on Transportation Legisation

August 19, 2013

Hartford, CT – Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) released the following statement today re: major transportation bill is officially signed into law. The bill among other things requires a lock box on the special transportation fund, requires improvements to rail and designates roads and bridges in honor or in memory of persons and organizations.

“This transportation bill includes many proposals that Brookfield Representative David Scribner and I worked hard on with the chairs of the transportation committee to address issues of importance in our districts. I also thank both Chairmen of this committee for working with both sides in a bi-partisan manner. Collaborative leadership works when all provide help to move these issues forward.

“As ranking members on the committee we know what commuters want and deserve. There are several good pieces of legislation in this bill that will enhance the quality of life of our commuting public, such as considering the electrification of all New Haven branch lines including the Danbury Rail line, increased parking at commuter train stations and most importantly securing special transportation funds (STF) for transportation purposes. These STF dollars are routinely raided for other purposes.

“The current adopted budget sweeps $91 million from the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and instead further grows state government. The money should be used for fixing roads and crumbling bridges. In addition, a 4 cent per gallon increase in the gas tax that funds the STF was added on July 1, the highest increase on this tax in Connecticut’s history. I did support this increase because the tax is too high and the money is too often used to fund general government- not transportation projects. That is why this law was written: to stop using transportation fees for general operating expenses and fund transportation needs.

“I am also concerned that state transportation priorities aren’t aligned properly. Is it smart to spend hundreds of millions of state taxpayer dollars on projects that help only a few commuters when there are traffic jams and bottle necks that need attention now? Fix it first is the way to go. ”

The bill also names bridges and roads, and requires certain signs to be erected notifying motorists of ferry services and vehicle height restrictions on the Merritt Parkway.