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Malloy's State Of The State Focuses On Plan To Overhaul Transportation Infrastructure

AP Photo/Jessica Hill

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy used his state of the state speech on Wednesday to push for a 30-year plan to overhaul the state’s entire transportation infrastructure.

The comprehensive plan would cost billions of dollars but Malloy says the state cannot afford to wait.  The Democratic governor gave the speech shortly after being sworn-in for his second term.

Traffic congestion and the poor condition of roads across Connecticut cost drivers 4.2 billion dollars a year term, Malloy told lawmakers at the joint session of the state General Assembly. The situation is also creating additional air pollution and smog, he said.

That’s why comprehensive upgrades are needed not just for highways, but to rail lines, ports, buses, and bicycle and pedestrian systems, Malloy said.

Malloy asked lawmakers to pass legislation creating what he called a secure "lock box," to protect the money raised for these projects.

“To ensure that money set aside for transportation projects is only used for that purpose. Send me a bill that accomplishes these goals and I will sign it immediately,” he urged.

Talk of a lockbox is misleading because it doesn’t bind future lawmakers, said state senate minority leader Len Fasano, a North Haven Republican. “I really think we need a constitutional amendment that says we are not to touch it, because we sweep every available fund when we are broke,” he said, in response to Malloy’s proposal.

Democratic state Senate President Martin Looney of New Haven disagreed. “I think constitutional amendments have to do with fundamental governmental principles, not matters of spending. I think the lockbox proposal is entirely appropriate,” Looney said, in support of the governor’s proposal.

Details of Malloy’s transportation proposal, which is already getting support from business groups, will be presented to lawmakers in the governor’s budget proposal next month.

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.
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