Gov. Malloy Renews Calls to Constitutionally Protect Transportation Funds
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined a group of transportation advocates and state and local officials at the site of the train station located in downtown Meriden, where he renewed his calls to adopt a constitutional amendment to protect revenue that goes into the Special Transportation Fund. That amendment would ensure that once funds become a dedicated investment by going into the fund, that they can never be removed.
"Our infrastructure is deteriorating - we all agree. It's time to step up and act, and we can do that with a constitutional lockbox. We've presented a bold vision for the future, but having a promise to taxpayers is critical," Governor Malloy said. "The people of Connecticut need to know that money dedicated for transportation will be used on transportation, and that future legislatures will not be able to use it for other purposes. Our economy depends on making major upgrades to our transportation infrastructure, and our residents deserve nothing less than a best-in-class system that attracts business, spurs growth, and creates jobs."
"Instituting a stable, consistent transportation funding structure is critical to Connecticut's future," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. "Modernizing transportation - investment in roads and bridges, expanding mass transit and bike/pedestrian options, and better connecting transit networks - these are all part of a much larger strategy to make Connecticut more competitive. A transportation lockbox helps us meet our broader goals to increase efficiency in commerce and industry, it will save thousands of driver hours, and it makes our state more attractive to businesses and the workforce."
The downtown Meriden train station is located at the midpoint of the Hartford Line - the commuter rail service that is currently under development, which will run along the I-91 corridor connecting New Haven to Hartford and further north into Springfield. Expected to launch service no later than January 2018, it is one of several projects currently under development as part of Governor Malloy's statewide "Let's Go CT" initiative, which is making unprecedented investments to upgrade and modernize the state's entire transportation infrastructure - including highways, bridges, roads, rail, buses, walkways and bikeways - with an eye towards attracting businesses, growing jobs, and providing residents with a best-in-class system.
In surveys, businesses continuously rate transportation as a top priority when making site selection decisions. Corporate executives recently ranked highway accessibility as the number one factor when making these choices, according to Area Development's 29th Annual Corporate Survey. In addition, 77% of job seekers served by the American Job Center Network cited transportation as their number one barrier to employment.
Transportation groups and other advocates are supporting the Governor's call for a constitutional amendment:
Don Shubert, President of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association: "A constitutional lockbox on transportation funding would be a great way to set the tone and momentum early in this legislative session. Let's get this done and set the pace to keep Connecticut going in the right direction."
Karen Burnaska, Coordinator of the Transit for Connecticut Coalition: "When it comes to investment in our transit system, there's no replacement for public trust. National experience has shown that the public understands the importance of projects like building rail and repairing bridges, and is willing to support their funding if they're confident in how the money will be used. That's why a lockbox is critical--it's the best, most reliable way to ensure transportation money is used for transportation projects that will benefit our economy, our environment and the state's climate, and give residents the options they need."
Lyle Wray, Executive Director of the Capitol Region Council of Governments: "The Capitol Region Council of Governments sees the lockbox as the next and essential step after the vision in Let's Go CT. The lockbox needs to be in place to set the foundation for the next and third step of important conversations on resources."
Ralph Sanzari, General Chairman of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees: "Our members serve as Conductors, Engineers, Yardmasters, Rail Traffic Controllers and others on the Metro-North rail system. We work every day to help our passengers get to where they are going safely and on-time. We can speak firsthand of the need for substantial infrastructure upgrades to the system. For many years these needed investments did not keep up with the growth of Metro-North's ridership. The system is strained right now and needs vital upgrades. We support the Governor's initiative and believe our passengers will benefit from it. Further, the public has a right to know that every dollar that is collected in revenue for transportation will go to transportation. The lockbox is key to this and will end the practice of diverting transportation dollars to other purposes. ACRE fully and enthusiastically supports the Governor's initiative."