Municipal Leaders Make Push To Free Up Infrastructure Grants
Waterbury Republican-American, September 23, 2019
By Paul Hughes
Town and city leaders are urging a quick resolution to the impasse on the overdue state bonding package and the immediate release of local infrastructure grants once a two-year bonding bill is enacted.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities on Monday released town-by-town estimates for three bond-supported grant programs that have yet to be funded for the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years.
The state’s 169 municipalities are due to receive an estimated $153.8 million in 2020 from the Town Aid Road grants, Local Capital Improvement Program grants, and Grants for Municipal Projects, according to CCM.
The failure of Gov. Ned Lamont and the legislature to agree to a two-year bonding package on time has already delayed the expected release of first installment of the TAR grants. Historically, $30 million in payments are made every July and January.
There are no specific release dates for LoCIP grants or the municipal project grants. The state Office of Policy and Management is supposed to release the funding by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30.
Towns and cities split $30 million annually in LOCIP grants, and the yearly total for municipal projects grants is $60 million.
The bonding package is caught up in the larger debate on transportation funding and highway tolls.
CCM letter back to top
In a letter sent Monday to Lamont, the CCM board of directors urged the governor and legislature to reach an agreement on transportation funding and state borrowing, so a bonding bill can be approved in an upcoming special legislative session.
“Infrastructure funding is critical to the public safety needs and economic development concerns of municipalities and their residents,” wrote Joe DeLong, the executive director of CCM.
The Lamont administration was sympathetic but also noncommital in a statement released Monday in response to the letter.
“Governor Lamont is a staunch ally for infrastructure repairs and wholeheartedly agrees with CCM that funding to maintain our roads, bridges, and transit system needs to be prioritized. He is going to continue advocating on behalf of these critical transportation projects and will stress the concerns of CCM and local leaders to his legislative colleagues as discussions on a bond package continue.”