Several Connecticut transportation projects are stalled, and it’s not because of traffic ahead.
Gov. Dannel Malloy and state Transportation Commissioner James Redeker on Wednesday released a full list of projects totaling $4.3 billion that that state is postponing indefinitely until new revenue is appropriated for the Special Transportation Fund.
They include improvements to the Interstate 91-state Route 15 interchange on the Charter Oak Bridge connecting Hartford and East Hartford; the replacement of the so-called Waterbury Mixmaster interchange; and the widening of I-95 from Bridgeport to Stamford. Even routine highway maintenance and transportation aid to cities and towns are in serious jeopardy, Malloy added.
Malloy said his administration will announce detailed proposals this month that would restore the projects if the General Assembly adopts them.
A report from the state's Department of Transportation and Office of Management and Budget last month projected the special transportation fund's balance to run a $13 million deficit by fiscal 2020 and plummet into a $388 million hole two years later.
The STF finances the state’s transportation system, including the operating costs of the Department of Transportation and all the services it provides. Last month, Malloy reiterated his warning on the solvency of the fund after a report showed that without prompt action, the fund will be in deficit by fiscal 2019, which begins July 1.
“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,” said Malloy, a Democrat who will not seek re-election this year.
State Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, repeated his call to restore tolls on state highways. Connecticut removed tolls from I-95 after a fatal crash at a tollgate in the early 1980s.
“The cupboard is bare. Without a dedicated, stable stream of revenue to the Special Transportation Fund, our infrastructure will continue to rot and decay,” said Guerrera, who co-chairs the legislature’s transportation committee.
All of Connecticut’s neighboring states have some form of tolling. The state DOT has estimated that tolls could raise $700 million annually by around 2024.
State Sen. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich, co-chairman of the finance, revenue and bonding committee, strongly opposes tolls.
“They will be put in our faces whether we like it or not. I will fight them tooth and nail,” Frantz said on a Bond Buyer podcast. “In my judgment they’re more taxes on the people in Connecticut, and others."