Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s first budget doesn’t lack for boldness. During his budget address on Wednesday, Malloy said the state’s transportation problems “extended to virtually every corner of Connecticut” but that the state had the opportunity to “create a 21st century transportation system.” To do it, the governor proposes raising the gas tax by three cents and working to end the annual diversion of gas tax revenue away from the state’s Special Transportation Fund, which is facing a $50 million deficit.
Malloy also released a plan to finance $1 billion in transportation improvements, including $227 million for road and bridge maintenance, $156 million for train and bus maintenance, and funding for more of the M-8 rail cars needed to replace Metro-North’s ancient fleet.
In a statement, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign praised the governor for taking these necessary steps, and emphasized that the way to get a 21st-century transportation system was through a fix-it-first approach to roads and bridges and expansions of transit.
Malloy also promised to hold the line on bus and rail fare increases, except for an already planned 1%-per-year increase on Metro-North which will pay for the new rail cars.
The budget also proposes an increase in funding for the Urban and Industrial Site Reinvestment Tax Credit, which goes to businesses which invest in economically distressed urban areas and industrial zones. This is a smart move which would be even smarter if the tax credit were reworked so it clearly targeted transit-oriented areas.
Legislative hearings on the budget should be announced in the coming weeks. The entire transportation section of the budget is available here.
Photo: Brian A. Pounds/CT Post.