Don’t want your federal money? Connecticut will take it

Could Connecticut’s Democratic governor and congressional delegation find some advantage in the Republican sweep that ushered in new GOP leaders across the country? They’re trying, that’s for sure.

In the wake of a decision by Florida Gov. Rick Scott rejecting federal high-speed rail funds, Connecticut lawmakers have asked Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to send some of that money their way. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has made a similar request, joined by GOP and Democratic legislative leaders.

“In light of Governor Scott’s decision, we respectfully ask that you redirect $100 million of those funds to the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) line,” wrote Connecticut’s two U.S. senators and five U.S. House members in a letter to LaHood. “On top of the $120 million in federal grants received in October of last year, the additional money would fully fund Connecticut’s $220 million FY 2010 application.”

The letter notes that the delegation made a similar-unsuccessful-request when governors in Wisconsin and Ohio turned back the federal rail funds. Apparently that request was rejected because that was stimulus money and Connecticut had already gotten its fair share of that pot.

“However, Florida will be returning $800 million in FY 2010 … grant funding,” the delegation’s letter states. “As Connecticut received $100 million less than was requested in their FY 2010 application, we hope that our state can put those redirected funds to good use this time.”

In addition to writing a letter with Democrats Don Williams and Chris Donovan and Republicans John McKinney and Lawrence Cafero, Malloy chatted Thursday night with John Porcari, the deputy transportation secretary.

If LaHood writes a check, we’ll let you know.