CT DOT Memo Says Governor’s Plan Will Have Devastating Effect on Connecticut

March 28, 2019

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) today released the following statement regarding a Department of Transportation internal memo that contains an alarming assessment of Gov. Ned Lamont’s plans concerning transportation funding. The memo, which was obtained by the Senate Republican Office after repeated requests, addresses the impact of Gov. Lamont eliminating $250 million in transportation investments. This funding was authorized by the biennium bipartisan budget which included a portion of the Republican “Prioritize Progress” policy to authorize this investment. The memo concludes that eliminating this funding will severely constrict needed infrastructure investments across the state and allow roads and bridges to deteriorate.

“The memo from the DOT is shocking and alarming. It confirms our concerns that the governor’s proposals will have a devastating effect on transportation infrastructure, his transportation experts agree. The DOT says these policies would starve transportation funding, allow our roads and bridges to further deteriorate, and put more financial burdens on the backs of residents.

“Tolls cannot bring in any revenue for at least the next five years, according to the DOT. During that time, the governor’s transportation strategy would dramatically cut infrastructure investments, eliminate most if not all state funded transportation programs, and would cut local transportation aid for towns and cities. The DOT says it would put safety related projects at risk and have a devastating effect on industry partners counting on new projects. It will add more financial burdens onto taxpayers and could result in us having to pay back the federal government. If and when tolls are implemented, the DOT says it could take years to recover from the damage caused by the governor’s actions now. The DOT also confirms that tolls will not only be expensive to implement, but will be used to bond more. While Republicans have called for reprioritizing what the state is already borrowing, limited by the new bond caps which Republicans insisted on including in the bipartisan budget, tolls would result in borrowing above and beyond that level.

“The DOT also makes it clear that the administration’s strategy violates the public trust, with the DOT calling it ‘inconsistent’ with the Transportation lockbox. This memo does not even include an analysis of the how the governor’s budget would bankrupt the Special Transportation Fund by removing car sales tax revenue set to go into the fund over the next few years. If DOT attributes all this damage to eliminating just $250 million for transportation today, I can only image the damage that will be caused by stealing an additional $1.2 billion in transportation funding over the next five years as the governor’s budget proposes.”

“If improving roads and bridges is truly our state’s priority, we should all be concerned about the governor’s policy proposals and what the DOT memo says. The Republican Prioritize Progress plan is a proven effective way to fund transportation. It is the only plan that will allow us to start new transportation projects today and to properly fund transportation without asking for any more from Connecticut taxpayers and abiding by the new borrowing caps we have been fighting for.”

Click to view the DOT memo and list of projects attached to the memo.