By SHERIDAN CYR
Southington continues to feel the impact from cutbacks at the state capitol. Governor Dannel Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James Redeker released a full list of projects totaling $4.3 billion that are postponed indefinitely until new revenue is appropriated for the Special Transportation Fund (STF), which includes some Southington projects.
The governor made clear that his administration will announce detailed proposals this month that, if adopted by the General Assembly, would bring the projects back online.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said in a press release.
The STF finances the state’s transportation system, including the operating costs of the CTDOT and all of the services it provides. A report was released showing that without prompt action, the STF will be in deficit by fiscal year 2018-19, which begins July 1.
In Southington, two town projects are affected. One project is to replace the Marion Avenue bridge over Falls Brook. The second is for the replacement of the Marion Avenue bridge over an unnamed stream.
Director of public works Keith Hayden explained that initially the town applied for funding under the State Local Bridge program, which would qualify the town for a 50 percent reimbursement for design, construction and inspection costs for the first project.
The town then applied under the Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program which would qualify the town for a 100 percent reimbursement for construction and inspection.
“The town would be responsible for 100 percent of the design costs,” said Hayden. “The project was ranked No. 1 by the CRCOG Transportation Subcommittee. We anticipate that when funding is restored for this program, we would still be ranked No. 1 and could quickly move into construction after the design is completed.”
The second project, replacing the bridge over an unnamed brook, was submitted for funding under the State Local Ridge Program as well. While it was accepted, it was anticipated that the project would not begin until the first project was completed. The recent postponing by the governor and CTDOT “should have no effect on the schedule,” said Hayden.
The governor and CTDOT said in the release that these postponing are necessary. The release said that, when resources are identified, the projects will continue. In the meantime, hundreds of projects across the state will need to be halted.
“If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be,” the governor said in his release. “I want to be very clear – this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
The Governor will be releasing his recommendations to ensure the solvency of the STF in advance of the 2018 legislative session.
“This isn’t a problem that can be punted until future years. Connecticut needs immediate action,” Commissioner Redeker said in a press release. “As Governor Malloy noted last month, the solvency of the Special Transportation Fund is in doubt without new revenues. In real terms, that means we need to postpone indefinitely important projects today.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.