Gov. Dannel P. Malloy continues to support a constitutional “lockbox” for transportation funding, but was unclear Tuesday if he will call lawmakers back into a special session this fall to approve it.
The General Assembly failed to pass legislation during the regulation session that would have put to voters the question about making sure transportation funds are dedicated to transportation. If lawmakers don’t return to a special session this fall, it means the state may have to wait another year to get the question on the ballot. However, that’s only if lawmakers pass it with a simple majority. If they pass it with a super majority then it can automatically go on the 2016 ballot.
“Yes, I support a constitutional lockbox,” Malloy said following a Bond Commission meeting in which the commission borrowed $24.9 million for transportation improvements. “I think it needs to be done as soon as possible.”
He said he appreciates the legislature’s approval of a statutory lockbox, but he doesn’t think it will be “as solid as it could be, if we don’t do it constitutionally.”
If the state is going to raise revenue for transportation, then “that money should not be allowed to be taken out of that fund and spent elsewhere,” Malloy said.
He said he will have conversations with legislative leadership about a possible special session in the fall.
Meanwhile, about $10 million of the $24.9 million approved by the Bond Commission on Tuesday will be used to begin the design and engineering for the widening of I-84 in Danbury between exits 3 and 8.
Other transportation projects approved within the $24.9 million are:
• $1 million will be used to engineer the bottleneck on I-91 South near the I-691 and Route 15 exits in Meriden;
• $1 million will be used for the design and engineering of the eventual replacement of the “mixmaster” interchange of I-84 and Route 8 in Waterbury. The total replacement of the Mixmaster is expected to eventually cost $10 billion;
• $500,000 to expand the CTFastrak busway east of Hartford to Manchester;
• $7 million to install real-time location devices on all public transit buses statewide so that riders can download an app to their mobile devices and find out if their bus is on time;
• $4 million to build a new dockyard on the Danbury branch rail line in Norwalk;
• $400,000 to review a potential busway along Route 1 between Norwalk and Stanford;
• $500,000 to study expanding bus service in parts of the state not currently served by public transportation, and;
• $500,000 to study how to coordinate para-transit services for disabled people statewide.
Malloy said this is just the first of billions of dollars to be invested in Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure over the next 30 years.
The task force created to figure out how to finance $100 billion in transportation upgrades will meet at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Legislative Office Building.