The prospect of a balanced budget in Connecticut is unclear now that an agreement with state employee unions appears at risk of collapse. But one positive highlight from the state’s budget was the shielding of more transportation revenue from being diverted to the State’s General Fund.
In the recently adopted budget, the amount of revenue devoted to transportation from the wholesale fuel tax, an existing tax on state oil companies, will increase by almost $100 million over two years. This, in addition to additional transfers of $81 million over two years from the General Fund, is paying early dividends, and plaudits from both Democrats and Republicans in Connecticut.
According to the Stamford Advocate, as a result of these budget actions the state will be able to now bond for design work on the Merritt 7 Metro-North Station in Norwalk, and the hope is that these actions will also allow the state to upgrade the state’s other existing road, bridge and transit infrastructure into a state of good repair.
While Connecticut’s transportation funding woes remain far from solved, this seemingly small step could put the transportation system’s revitalization on a surer path.
In neighboring New York, a recently passed “transit lockbox” bill could produce similar benefits if Governor Cuomo signs the legislation. Doing so would go a long way towards ensuring that transit revenues are used for their intended purposes, preventing fare hikes and service cuts in the process.