From the Capitol: A Better Way to Get CT Moving

February 17, 2015

From the forgotten Waterbury Branch to the overwhelming congestion on I-95, Connecticut’s transportation problems impact everyday life for almost everyone in our state.

Clearly, Connecticut needs to do a better job undertaking safety improvements, fulfilling needed road maintenance, and advancing and expanding transportation options for our future.

In order to better fund transportation, some have said we need tolls. Others believe we need to raise taxes. But I don’t think we have to do either. Instead we need to live within our means and reprioritize how the state spends its money, just like you and I do. That’s why I’m very excited to share with you “Prioritize Progress” – an innovative plan unveiled by Republican legislators this past week at the state Capitol.

Republican lawmakers have hammered out a real plan that will enable the state to fund major transportation improvement projects, without placing any added burdens on our families. It involves no taxes and no tolls. This plan is a better way to improve transportation and get Connecticut moving.

According to the CT Department of Transportation commissioner, the department is always struggling to fund transportation because they can only plan improvements based on money they think will be available. There has not been a reliable, sustainable transportation funding source for the past 120 years; so of course it’s nearly impossible to budget for needed improvements and upgrades.

“Prioritize Progress” will solve this century-old problem by utilizing current revenue and bonding to dedicate at least $1 billion annually to transportation for the next 30 years. By reprioritizing how and why we borrow money, the plan will actually reduce the total amount of borrowing our state relies on, while also dedicating more of those funds to transportation projects. Our plan maintains funding for vital programs, increases funding for transportation, and helps us tighten our fiscal belts.

The Republican plan also aims to empower transportation experts to identify the major projects that must take priority. By fully funding our Special Transportation Fund and making almost double the amount of funds available, engineers at the DOT will have a reliable stream of funding to base their projects on. We are also recommending the state fill all vacant positions at DOT and reinstitute the Transportation Strategy Board, a nonpartisan board that works with DOT to make sure all projects address the needs of communities across the state. With the appropriate manpower, we can get Connecticut back on the right track.

Republicans and Democrats need to come together to address the severity of transportation issues across our state together. This plan offers a clear and sustainable funding solution and a clear place to start.

I hope Democrat lawmakers and the governor will seriously consider this proposal. Republicans may be the minority party in CT, but that does not mean our meaningful ideas are without merit. No tax increase, no tolls, and more funding for transportation is possible – and it’s a win-win for families, jobs and commuters everywhere.

To read the full Republican plan visit: