Sen. Henri Martin & Senate Republicans offer legislative priorities

February 14, 2019

Senate Republicans outlined a list of proposals on Wednesday that would expand public-private partnerships, create new tax incentives — and possibly add to Connecticut’s coffers.

The lawmakers proposed several bills that aim to lower government costs by implementing public-private partnerships with state human services agencies.


Also Wednesday, Republicans renewed a proposal first offered in 2015 to finance transportation infrastructure improvements without imposing tolls or raising gasoline taxes.

The “Prioritize Progress” initiative relies heavily on dedicating a major share of the state’s borrowing capacity toward highway, rail and bridge work — even though it might necessitate lesser borrowing for municipal school construction, capital projects at state universities, and for other capital programs.

Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, had argued on several occasions that the GOP plan would not allocate sufficient resources to both ensure highway, bridge and rail safety — and to make vital, long-overdue transportation upgrades.

Among the projects Malloy said would fall into fiscal limbo under the Republican initiative were the completion of upgrades to the “mixmaster” junction of Interstate 84 and Route 8 in Waterbury, the replacement of the elevated section of I-84 in Hartford, and the widening of Interstate 95 in southwestern Connecticut.

But Sen. Henri Martin of Bristol, ranking GOP senator on the Transportation Committee, disagreed.

“This is our way of saying which capital improvements are most in need,” Martin said. And while safety must be top priority, he added, legislators for too long have been unwilling to postpone other projects — municipal schools, new buildings on colleges campuses, or others — in tough fiscal times. “I guess hard decisions are going to have to be made.”

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