Capitol Connection: Prioritizing Transportation

February 13, 2015

For hundreds of years our state has not properly funded transportation. As a result, we are faced with crumbling roads and bridges, deteriorating infrastructure, and a weak public transportation system.

This year, the governor has pledged that he will make transportation a priority for our state. I applaud those efforts, but am wary of exactly how the governor will fund his plans.

I don’t want to see a large tax increase. I don’t want to see tolls. I don’t want Connecticut families and employers to face any new burdens to fix a problem that has persisted in our state for generations.

That’s why I am happy to share an alternative – a Republican plan that can fund huge transportation projects without tolls and without new taxes. “Prioritize Progress,” a plan announced this week by GOP lawmakers, reprioritizes how we currently spend and borrow to make sure transportation is not ignored.

To help get Connecticut back on the right track, Republican legislators have teamed up to put together a reliable funding solution and outline a step-by-step multiyear plan to make sure the most important safety upgrades and new projects get done first. The plan maintains funding for key government services, directs more funding to transportation, and simultaneously reduces debt by shrinking the amount of money the state currently borrows.

Key components of the plan would require the state to:
1. Reserve a set amount of General Obligation Bonds to be used solely for transportation priorities.
2. Preserve current Special Tax Obligation bonds dedicated to transportation.
3. Fill all vacant positions at the CT Department of Transportation (DOT) to ensure that the agency can efficiently carry out the state’s needed transportation projects. As of January 1, the DOT is 114 positions below where they were 6 months previously.
4. Re-establish the Transportation Strategy Board (TSB), a bipartisan panel, to work alongside CT DOT to assess proposed projects and identify community needs.

Benefits of the plan include:

  • An annual transportation funding mechanism guaranteeing at least $1 billion annually over the next 30 years
  • No tax increases
  • No tolls
  • A reduction in the current level of state bonding
  • Flexibility in setting transportation priorities
  • A sustainable and predictable funding plan to support future generations

Republicans may be in the minority in Connecticut, but that does not mean we cannot lead Connecticut with new ideas. Our plan could actually dovetail with the governor’s efforts – if only it is given a chance.

I hope Democrats and Republicans can come together to make transportation a priority. “Prioritize Progress” is a long-term solution to advance transportation in Connecticut for the next generation. We have a plan, so let’s get going now to better Connecticut!

To read the full Republican plan visit: