Connecticut’s budget continues to frustrate transit advocates. In the latest twist in the protracted process, Gov. Rell has vetoed a bill that would have staved off bus and rail fare increases. This isn’t the first time she’s kept transit riders on the hook. To recap:
The year started off with a bang. In Governor Rell’s first iteration of the budget she proposed to raise bus and rail fares by 40% and 10% respectively.
This led to transit advocates fighting to prevent fare increases and the General Assembly passing a budget that ensured rail and bus funding was sufficient enough to stave off hikes. That bill was subsequently vetoed by the governor.
The General Assembly was poised to pass another budget with no fare hikes and service cuts, but slashed operating funds by $8 million in the eleventh hour, which would have led to fare hikes or service cuts. Governor Rell didn’t sign that budget, but allowed it to become law without her signature.
In light of the last minute cuts, Assembly leaders vowed to find a way to fill the operating funds gap during the special “implementer” session held this week. They did so by voting to increase fees for the Department of Motor Vehicles which, in addition to preventing fare hikes, also would provide a disincentive to drive.
However, as if transit riders hadn’t been hanging in the balance long enough, Governor Rell vetoed the DMV fee increases on Friday.