Sen. Miner Calls on Gov. Lamont to Fulfill His Promise to Restore Town Aid Road Funding to Municipalities, Avoid Property Tax Increases

February 21, 2020

HARTFORD – State Senator Craig Miner (R-30) is calling on Gov. Lamont to release promised municipal funding for essential public transportation services through the Town Aid Road (TAR) grant program. Cities and towns utilize the critical TAR funds for necessary road construction, maintenance, and improvement of local roadways and factor TAR funds into their yearly budget.  TAR grants were supposed to be approved in a bond package last June, but cities and towns have been operating without TAR funds for several months because the Governor and Democrat legislative leaders have yet to agree on a bond package and have tried to delay approving a bond package to coincide with the passage of tolls.


“Communities are facing significant budget adjustments in order to reconcile expenses normally covered by Town Aid Road grants. Gov. Lamont has claimed support for lowering local property taxes; now is the time to make good on his pledge,” Sen. Miner said.


The repeated delay in funding has forced towns and cities to find alternative means to account for these related expenses, which could include future increases in local property tax.


Gov. Lamont has publicly noted twice this week that he intends to honor his previous pledge to restore grant funding, including TAR, to municipalities. At the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) annual meeting on Feb. 19, he acknowledged his previous promises of municipal aid. On the same day at an unrelated media availability regarding tolls, he reaffirmed this commitment.


“This [municipal aid] is something they [municipalities] put in their budget, they counted on. I said well, we’re ready to go for it. I said it’s a little complicated because with Prioritize Progress, there might be a crowding out. I think I know that we’re just doing additional $200 million out of bonding, so there will be money to honor our commitments to the towns and cities,” Gov. Lamont said.


Taking note of this repeated pledge, Sen. Miner is calling on Gov. Lamont to follow through.


Sen. Miner also indicated that TAR funding should not be contingent on highway truck tolling, or lack thereof. “It’s a total of $60 million in bonding, out of well over $1 billion in total state bonding. Needed municipal funding should have never been contingent upon a tolls vote and funding should not be held hostage any longer,” he said.


Last year, the state awarded a total of $60 million in TAR funds to the state’s municipalities. Cities and towns factor TAR funds into their operating budget and receive half of the funds in July for road repaving and tree clearing, amongst other related projects. They receive the other half of the funds in January for snow removal.