Yesterday, Gov. Dannel Malloy and CT Department of Transportation (CT-DOT) commissioner James P. Redeker released a list of approximately 400 capital projects totaling $4.3 billion that they are postponing indefinitely, issuing a challenge to the General Assembly to replenish the state’s depleted Special Transportation Fund. Among the projects now in limbo are the Rt. 7/Grumman Hill Rd. intersection widening project and the interchange between the Merritt Parkway and the Rte. 7 Connector.
Malloy has proposals that he says he’ll present to the General Assembly later this month, and if legislators approve and adopt those ideas, he says he would bring the projects back online. According to the CT Mirror, those proposals potentially may include tolls, gasoline tax hikes and other revenue-raising projects.
Also threatened by Malloy and Redeker are additional transportation fare increases this year, for both bus and rail; and weekend service reduction on the Danbury Metro-North rail line.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said. “If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be. I want to be very clear – this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
“This isn’t a problem that can be punted until future years. Connecticut needs immediate action,” Redeker said. “As Governor Malloy noted last month, the solvency of the Special Transportation Fund is in doubt without new revenues. In real terms, that means we need to postpone indefinitely important projects today.”
Construction was anticipated to begin on the Rte. 7/Grumman Hill Rd. intersection improvements in the spring of 2020. The estimated construction cost for the state designed project is approximately $2.67 million. The project is to include roadway widening to accommodate northbound and southbound left-turn lanes and a minimum of 4-ft. shoulders. In addition, sidewalks were to be installed on the east side of Rte. 7, and the traffic signal for the intersection was to be replaced to better accommodate the proposed left-turn lanes.
Wilton’s state senator Toni Boucher (R-26), co-chair of the Transportation Committee, released a statement in response.
“In today’s press conference, Governor Malloy said the legislature has put the state in a pickle by shortchanging the special transportation fund and not addressing Connecticut’s crumbling infrastructure. The Governor fails to acknowledge his and his administration’s actions by pouring the brine into the growing cracks in the state’s roads and railways. They did this by regularly raiding the special transportation fund and putting Connecticut’s infrastructure needs on the back burner.
“Now, with the special transportation fund running dry, the Governor announces that major repair and improvement projects throughout the state will cease until more funding is made available. His actions directly impede and endanger those on Connecticut’s roadways and railways in the hope of wearing travelers down. The plan is that residents will acquiesce to Democrats calls for fare increases, gas tax increases, and electronic tolls with the promise that only more money will make things better.