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Connecticut Bond Commission Approves $1.1B In Loans For Infrastructure, Schools, Newtown Memorial

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The Connecticut Bond Commission approved $1.1 billion in state borrowing on Friday. The money is to be spent on transportation infrastructure, school construction, other infrastructure projects and a memorial for those killed in the 2012 Newtown school shooting.

Governor Ned Lamont said the large amount of overall borrowing is a departure from his initial “debt-diet” policy. But he said it’s needed to jump-start the economy and it’s well-timed to take advantage of the state’s improved credit rating.

“It’s historic because we do have unemployment, a lot of folks looking for work. And it's time to get people back to work. Get people back to work in good paying jobs, a lot of them good paying construction jobs,” Lamont said.

About $500 million is to be spent on transportation infrastructure projects while $300 million would be spent on school construction.

Over $54 million would go to municipal projects, including $7 million for the repaving of one of the two runways at the city of Bridgeport’s Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford.

Lamont said he supports infrastructure upgrades at the Bridgeport-owned Sikorsky Memorial Airport and that he expects regional air travel to be a big part of the state’s future.

“Sikorsky has the opportunity to become a real regional airport. I think you see some distribution facilities there. We've got to work with the neighbors. I want to make sure we get this right,“ Lamont said.

Neighbors have been against expansion of the airport because of environmental concerns. Lamont also wants more passenger service at Tweed New Haven Airport and at Bradley International Airport.

The bond commission approved $2.5 million for a Newtown memorial.

The memorial will include flower gardens and a pool with a sycamore tree in the middle and victims’ names engraved around it. Voters approved the $3.7 million memorial in April — the town will cover the rest of the cost.

Officials said they expect to break ground next month and finish construction year before the 10th anniversary of the shooting.

Twenty children and six educators were killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

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.
Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.