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Connecticut towns can apply for $2 billion to build equity

Mark Lennihan

Cash-strapped towns and cities in Connecticut can take advantage of a new $2 billion, 10-year competitive state bond program aimed at distressed communities.

House Speaker Matt Ritter said the 34 distressed cities and towns eligible for the program should prepare to start work on long-term proposals for the money soon after municipal elections are held next week.

“They have to submit an actual plan as to what they are going to do with five-year funds. Are they going to put their own funds to match what the state would do? I just think that making communities think more long-term is going to have a greater impact on cities like Hartford that I represent,” said Ritter, co-chair of the first meeting of a 21-member community investment board setup to oversee the program.

The governor’s chief of staff, Paul Mounds, said the program would help provide equity for communities of color.

“This is an opportunity for us to work together to ensure that we have what are truly structural changes to our communities — not just surface changes,” said Mounds

Proposals to be considered include housing, brownfield remediation and broadband expansion. Business support for women and communities of color would also be a priority.

The first grants are to be awarded next year.

The fund was approved by lawmakers as an addition to the state’s regular bonding program chaired by the governor.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.