CCM calls on Governor, legislature to pass the bond package — $150 million in critical infrastructure improvement and repair funding at stake
For immediate Release
Monday, September 16, 2019
Kevin Maloney, 203 710 3486
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Monday, September 16), in a letter to Governor Ned Lamont, called on the state legislature to work with Governor Lamont to come to an agreement on a comprehensive transportation and infrastructure plan so that the bond package can be called and enacted in a timely manner.
The release of essential Town Aid Road (TAR), Local Capital Improvement Program (LoCIP) grants, and Grants for Municipal Projects at the next Bond Commission meeting after the bond package is enacted is critical to maintaining local roads and moving forward with local infrastructure projects.
TAR, LoCIP, and Grants for Municipal Projects represent the biggest annual grants for infrastructure repairs and capital improvements at $60 million, $30 million, and $60 million, respectively.
While CCM currently does not anticipate any changes to those funding amounts, without any approvals they force towns to expend their own fund for repaving and other transportation related projects — many of which are time sensitive and must be completed before the winter season sets in.
The TAR grant is split in two payments; one in July and one January. Because it is now bonded, the payments cannot be processed until the bond funds are allocated at a Bond Commission meeting. This cannot occur until the state legislature adopts the bond package.
Joe DeLong, CCM’s Executive Director, in today’s letter to Governor Lamont, emphasized that “the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities urges you to ensure that Town Aid for Roads (TAR), Local Capital Improvement Projects (LoCIP) and Grants for Municipal Projects funding are provided to towns and cities, at the possible special session at the end of this month or a special session shortly thereafter. Infrastructure funding is critical to the public safety needs and economic development concerns of municipalities and their residents.”
DeLong also noted that CCM appreciates and supports the Governor’s efforts to address Connecticut’s transportation needs and to secure the needed adequate funding; and CCM supports the cooperative efforts of the Governor and legislative leaders to achieve consensus on this critical issue.
Essential funding back to top
Approving these three grants proves how essential the money coming out of the Bond Commission is — it is literally the roads we drive on and the bridges we cross over. It is a dangerous waiting game being played with municipalities regarding these infrastructure funds.
Maintaining local roads, bridges and infrastructure has always been difficult due to limited financial resources and staffing, but must remain a priority for both state and local governments.
The challenge to maintain this critical infrastructure has increased given these funding difficulties. The delay in releasing the TAR, LoCIP and Grants for Municipal Projects funding compromises the safety of existing roads and bridges and limits the opportunities to expand and improve our infrastructure network.
While the State has made strides to sustain investments needed to improve and maintain the state and local transportation network, the level of funding has not kept pace with the declining state of our transportation infrastructure. State and local leaders must continue to work together in partnership to ensure the integrity and reliability of our transportation network. Opportunities to promote efficiencies that will enable towns and cities to improve local roads, maintain bridges, expand rail and port capacity must be identified and acted upon.
According to a national transportation research group, 58 percent of Connecticut’s major urban highways are congested, costing citizens millions each year in wasted time and fuel costs. A robust transportation network not only provides a safe and reliable means for Connecticut residents to travel to and from work, but encourages business development and job creation. It is universally accepted that it is more cost effective to maintain or repair roads and bridges than to replace them once they have failed.
The increased use of the state and local road and bridge network has accelerated the decline of Connecticut’s local transportation infrastructure. It has led to skyrocketing maintenance costs that require an ever-increasing percentage of state and local budgets. The reality in Connecticut is there are no separate state and local transportation networks – they are all interconnected.