Brian Meyers cartoon

Next week the legislature’s Transportation Committee will be asking a bond company why they rehired a contractor that cost the state millions of dollars in repairs for its shoddy work on a three-mile stretch of I-84 in Greater Waterbury.

The contractor L.G. DeFelice reformed as Hallberg and is still working for the state on other projects including one on Route 7, but until recently the Transportation Committee chairmen didn’t seem too concerned about the situation.

On April 30, Transportation Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, said he wanted answers about the botched project, but didn’t think a legislative investigation was merited.

“We can do it, but a legislative committee is not the most efficient or effective way,” to investigate, he said in April.

That same day in April, Republicans weren’t shy about calling for the Transportation Committee to step up to the plate and investigate. Sen. John McKinney, R-Southport, said the Democrat-controlled Transportation Committee needs to do its job and use its oversight power to conduct its own investigation.

Once the legislative session ended and contract reform failed again for lack of action in House, DeFronzo decided it was time for a legislative investigation.

He told the Associated Press in June that his panel and the Public Safety Committee have sent letters to numerous people involved in the project, inviting them to appear before lawmakers on July 11 and 13. He said the investigation may lead to ideas for new laws and some of the proposals may be related to contract reform.

There has already been an independent audit of the project, and both federal and state authorities are conducting criminal and civil investigations into what went wrong with the project.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has also filed a breach of contract action against the contractor, L.G. DeFelice and Maguire Group, the company hired to inspect the work.

Click here to read what Stephen Hallberg formerly of L.G. DeFelice had to say about the situation.