HARTFORD, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont told the Senate Republican caucus Thursday about his 10-year, $21-billion transportation plan that he wants to announce soon, and also with their support.
“We gave them the first draft of CT 2030.” Lamont said.
But it’s not a done deal.
The Lamont administration, who released its first transportation in a newspaper editorial, is waiting for feedback from Republicans and legislative leaders over the next few days.
Will Republicans agree to proposal?
“Your guess is as good as mine,’ Lamont said.
Senate President Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said Lamont challenged Republicans to come up with something other than tolls and general obligation bonds as the revenue stream to access the low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build American Bureau.
The plan Lamont gave Republicans Thursday included a list of projects, the order the projects will be tackled and what each project means for congestion. He also broke down whether a toll was associated with the project and how much revenue for that project would come from in-state and out-of-state drivers and trucks.
There are a total of 14 bridges or choke points that would require tolls.
Fasano said he thinks they can agree to the construction that needs to get done.
“The question is how are we going to pay for it?” Fasano said.
Lamont believes a limited number of tolls is the right way to leverage the federal dollars.
But Fasano wants to know what would happen if they stretched out the 10 years to 15 years?
He said when the projects are mapped there’s a concern about how many are happening in a certain segment of the state at the same time.
He said 15 years would presumably mean less principal and interest payments per year, but he hasn’t done the math yet to figure out if it would work.
“There’s no need to cram everything in. Maybe there’s a way of looking at this a little bit differently,” Fasano said. “And maybe we don’t get to do everything we want to do but maybe we can do everything we need to do.”
Fasano said the Lamont plan includes about $3 billion in bridges and $4 to $5 billion in rail improvements.
He wonders how many of those projects need to be tolled in order to access the interest rates from the federal government below 1%.
Fasano said he really would like to talk to the legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis about the proposal, but he can’t until the governor releases the plan publicly.
Fasano said he told Lamont that.
“We are trying to make this public soon,” Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director, said Friday.