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Malloy Reiterates His Call For Transportation Lockbox

by | Oct 29, 2015 5:30am () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: State Budget, Special Session, Transportation

Christine Stuart photo Gov. Dannel P. Malloy spent part of his cabinet meeting Wednesday reiterating his call for a constitutional lockbox for transportation funds.

Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said underinvestment in transportation over the last few decades has begun to take its toll on Connecticut’s roads and bridges.

He said 35 percent of Connecticut’s bridges are functionally obsolete or structurally deficit and 41 percent of state and local roads are in “poor” condition. Those poor road conditions add $661 per year in operating costs for drivers.

Road conditions and lack of access to transportation also make the state less desirable to businesses.

Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith said one of the most important factors businesses consider when they’re relocating is access to transportation. She said it has replaced talent as the number one factor corporations consider in relocation decisions.

Earlier this year, Malloy laid out his 30-year, $100 billion transportation vision and created a panel to figure out how to fund it.

Originally, the panel was supposed to finish its work in October, but it requested an additional two months.

Cameron Staples, who chairs the panel, has said that when the legislature decided to use a half-cent from the state sales tax to shore up the special transportation fund, it changed the timeline. Initially, the panel was planning to have its recommendations in place this fall for a special session, but “because the fund is now solvent for the next few years, it really took pressure off us,” Staples said last month.

He said they are looking at meeting in November to begin putting together their draft report and a final report the first week of December.

Malloy admitted that the sales tax only pays for a portion of his plans and a lockbox would go a long way to guaranteeing the funds will be there in the future.

“A gigantic portion of it is already paid for. It just needs to be secured by a lockbox,” Malloy insisted. “What I’m saying is, the legislature has taken the first step by appropriating one half percent of the sales tax for that purpose. They’ve taken the second step of passing a legislative lockbox. My administration has taken a third step and that is to post those proceeds as repayment of the bonds, which ties the state’s hands. Then, ultimately, we need to take the final step and have a constitutional lockbox.”

The legislature would need to pass a constitutional lockbox amendment with a three-quarters majority in order to get it on the 2016 ballot.

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(6) Archived Comments

posted by: Janster57 | October 29, 2015  6:21am

Join Chairman Malloy in the Structural Revolution!

posted by: eastrivertype | October 29, 2015  7:09am

Gee what a great idea.  A lock box.  Since the constitutional spending cap has been so effective why not try it again, only this time for transportation? 
The problem has never been underinvestment. The problem is that they raid the special transportation fund and spend the money on other parts of their bloated budgets.  As soon as the next budget falls apart, they will use the key to the lock box (probably the same key that fits the spending cap) and take the money again.  If it is such a priority then don’t raid the money for other programs and benefits of lower priority.  What a tough concept to grasp.
They have repeatedly gutted the spending cap so why will this be any different?
They know what to do and this isn’t it.  This is more feel good legislation to make us believe that they really can be trusted to get it right this time.  Besides if we have a lock box then we can increase taxes (or tolls) and put all kinds of new money in there, since it will be safe. 
Wow, this lock box seems like Charlie Brown and the football.  Are we going to fall for it again?

posted by: MyOpinion | October 29, 2015  10:14am

and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell too…... I do NOT trust Government to direct spending.  They have a proven history.

posted by: art vandelay | October 29, 2015  12:14pm

art vandelay

I don’t believe any CT Junkie reader will argue that fact that our transportation infrastructure is in dire straits.  The question is how are we going to pay for it.  I’m reluctantly resigned to the fact that tolls are going to become a reality along with a higher gas and gross receipt taxes.

A huge influx of federal funds will also be required to meet Governor Malloy’s objective.  This is were Connecticut will fall short. Connecticut needs two Senators with the stature of a Ted Kennedy or Robert Byrd.  They were masters at securing federal funds for their respective states. Our two Senators lack the skills and stature necessary to accomplish such a feat.  As a result Connecticut taxpayers will pay dearly.

posted by: justsayin | October 29, 2015  1:59pm

Maye now IS the time to raid it? Justsayin…..

posted by: art vandelay | October 29, 2015  11:22pm

art vandelay

Dan Klau wrote an excellent piece regarding the constitutionality of transportation lock box.  Unless every T is crossed and every I dotted, the State Supreme Court will consider the amendment as a political tool. 

The Spending Cap Amendment was passed as a way to assure legislators on the fence about the income tax to vote yes.  It was a dismal failure.

A Transportation Lock Box will have the same result.  It’s only a ploy to persuade legislators to implement tolls and increases in the gas tax.

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