Bond Commission Approves New Transportation Dollars

January 12, 2015

Sen. Boucher: “nice to have” projects may need to make way for more important ones

Hartford, CT – State Senator Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) released the following statement today re: State Bond Commission Allocation of nearly $600 million in bonding for the transportation infrastructure of the New Haven to Hartford rail line.

“The release of $575 million dollars for the construction of six new rail road stations on the New Haven to Hartford line is long overdue. The 62 mile stretch of commuter rail line has been under utilized for decades. Necessary, reliable and a safe transportation infrastructure is a core state function. We are in desperate need of better service, replacements, repairs and upgrades to roads, rails, bridges and ports.

“Along with this allocation, however, there should be caution. The administration has a habit of breaking through self imposed caps on bonding.

“The legislature should closely monitor the amount of general obligation bonds that this governor has already promised as the taxpayers can only bear so much. No matter how well intentioned, it would be unwise to extend bonding beyond what is considered necessary given the state’s tenuous financial position.

“If we are to stretch tax dollars in a responsible manner, we should prioritize how bonding is distributed. Some “nice to have” projects may need to make way for more important ones, ones that affect the greatest number commuters, have a major impact on the state’s economy and those that will address deteriorated infrastructure that put the public’s ‘s safety at risk.

“It is well understood that we have an immediate need for transportation upgrades – the public supports this and it is not in question. However, the administration should have a long term plan and must set priorities with the legislature for which transportation projects should be bonded for now and the ones that should be phased in.

“As I have previously stated, the legislature will also need to close the loop holes in state statues designed to protect (lock box) the special transportation fund from further raids to close budget gaps. This protection can NOT be exclusive to any new proposed revenues such as tolls, but must include gas tax revenues and all other fees, rail fares or department of motor vehicle fees.”

Boucher as ranking member of transportation committee will be proposing a bills to require the department of transportation to put the rail contract out to bid, garner support for Connecticut to have voting members on the Metro North Administrative board and as stated above prioritize spending of transportation dollars on transportation needs.