Borrowing transportation funds, in the short term, makes sense
Let’s celebrate Gov. Ned Lamont’s constructive proposal that would start to solve Connecticut’s Transportation Crisis! Using short term borrowing to bridge the gap until toll revenue can come onstream makes sense. The cost of the need to fix our transportation infrastructure is almost overwhelming. We need creative solutions to address this problem now.
I have tried but I cannot find a defensible reason why Connecticut should not join the 42 states and the District of Columbia that have tolls. We need to share paying this massive price tag with the 40% of users of our roads who come from out-of-state. After all, we pay their tolls when we drive on their roads. And discounts for CT drivers can help make tolls more manageable – especially, for low income and frequent drivers. The alternative Prioritize Debt plan using 30-year bonds would saddle us, our children, and our children’s children with repaying 100% of that cost. There is no way to explain that as sensible or fair.
With 330+ structurally deficient bridges and many roads in poor repair, Connecticut has a monster Transportation Infrastructure problem. We’re playing chicken as we wait for another Mianus River Bridge event. And we’re endangering the economic viability of the state.
Now is the time for constructive solutions to solve a problem that has evolved over decades. Bond financing would just mean continuing to kick the can down the road. Gov. Lamont’s new plan would put a stop to that.
Jackie Kaiko lives in Stamford.
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