I hope you’ve been following CT-N to watch our dysfunctional legislature in recent weeks as they struggle to fill a $900 million budget gap. Not only could they not get a new budget together before adjourning (only to be summoned back this week for a special session), but the legislative logjam left several important measures in limbo. Among them, the long debated “lock box” for special transportation funding.
I hate to say “I told you so,” but… just as I’d predicted, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s hand-picked Transportation Finance Panel has finally issued its recommendations for paying for the governor’s 30-year, $100 billion transportation “plan.” Interestingly, as it began work last summer, the Transportation Finance Panel wasn’t allowed to debate the merits of anything in the governor’s “plan,” so all they could do was suggest how to fund the whole thing.
As someone who has battled two decades for more spending on transportation, you’d think I would be happy with the state’s new biennial budget. But when you drill down into the details, there’s reason for concern. Gov. Dannel Malloy promised a down-payment on his $100 billion transportation dreams. And he did get one-half of one percent of the state sales tax repurposed for that… but it only pays down the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s enormous debt service.