Fare will increase, decreased practice service, less freeway snowing plowing, postponed construction. All of these and more are on the horizon, say Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut DOT because our Special Transportation Fund is operating dry. We’ve been speaking about this challenge for years and our lawmakers have executed nothing.
In actual fact, they’ve hastened this transportation Armageddon by their own short-sighted political pandering. Remember in 1997 when the Legislature lowered the gasoline tax by 14 cents a gallon? Seemed like a popular move in a state with such excessive gasoline taxes. But those taxes are how we fund our transportation! And with lower oil prices, greater gasoline efficiency and electric cars, people are buying less gas and the STF is working on empty.
And our debt service on transportation is rising quicker than CDOT’s spending on operations. Last week the governor warned us that Wall Street won’t purchase even our normal obligation bonds, let alone transportation bonds, if the STF goes into the pink. So unless we find new income sources soon, any bonding will probably be costlier if not unattainable. So pick your poison: tolls, gross sales taxes, Vehicle Miles Tax, gas tax, higher fares… none of them are fashionable, however some combination will likely be crucial. Forget about rebuilding the crumbling Stamford rail station garage, a new station garage in New Haven, widening I-95 or rebuilding the disintegrating Route 7 – I-84 “Mixmaster” in Waterbury.
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And as CDOT faces further staffing layoffs, don’t be surprised if our highways don’t get plowed. Agency insiders inform me they’re already down 50 % in snow plow staffers in some parts of the state. Oh, however right here come the uniformed recommendations for a quick repair. You’ve heard them and maybe considered them your self.
Why not cancel the new New Haven to Springfield rail line? 191 million refund it doesn’t have. Why not stop the raids on the STF to stability the finances with a lock-field? Great thought and you’ll get a chance to vote on that in a November 2018 referendum assuming you suppose it’s an actual lock on that field. Why not wrap all Metro-North trains in advertising… acquire all tickets… promote naming rights for stations?
1 billion we need simply to maintain the STF solvent and the state afloat. Tolls and taxes are the only real looking options. But our legislators, facing an election year, have no stomach for either. They’re still recovering from wrenched shoulders from patting themselves on the back for reaching an unbalanced funds while they’re in severe denial about the actual mess we are in.
Come January the CDOT will start a sequence of public hearings on the necessary fare hikes and spending cuts. It will likely be an ideal time to see who among our lawmakers shall be honest with us in regards to the monetary disaster they created. Plans call for Meriden Commons II to sit behind Meriden Commons on four acres off State and Cedar streets. 60 million combined, and supply 151 items of combined income housing and more than 15,000 square feet of economic house. Residential leasing at Meriden Commons I will begin in early 2018, whereas industrial leasing has started.