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Connecticut Legislature Passes Oversight Bill For Port Authority

The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford
The Connecticut State Capitol Building in Hartford

A new bipartisan bill has been approved by the state Legislature to bring new oversight and transparency to the Connecticut Port Authority, and now moves to Governor Ned Lamont for a signature.

The quasi-public agency is under investigation by the state's Attorney General's office about the controversial contracts for the $235 million State Pier project. The agency is expected to make upgrades to support offshore wind development in New London.

“All of these problems I think if the city was represented, at least their voice, at those meetings their wouldn’t have been so much bad relationships over things like the fisherman, displacement of the salt, problems with the Longshoreman," New London Mayor Michael Passero said referring to his two-year dispute with the authority. "I think having the local voice there for this board would have been beneficial for everybody.”

Republican State Senator Paul Formica, one of the bill co-sponsors, said he is disappointed that one important state agency was excluded from the legislation to improve accountability.

“I think the Contracting and Standards Board could provide a lot of benefits to the state government in areas beyond the Connecticut Port Authority and quasi governments that we seem to be having issues with. So, I think it’s a board that needs to be strengthened,” Formica said.

The bill will require the authority to provide regular reports and financial updates on pending contracts and small harbor projects. It also calls for six new board members to join the authority to give more representation from small port towns.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.