Gov. Dannel Malloy called a press conference Wednesday to announce he was halting state Department of Transportation projects indefinitely. The Democratic governor said he was postponing all roadwork until state lawmakers pass a bill to provide more money for the estimated $4.3 billion in infrastructure repairs and improvements needed across the state.
Projects slated for Bristol, New Britain, Berlin and Newington are on the list of transportation projects now on hold.
The governor blamed the lack of money in the state’s DOT fund on the underestimating of revenue that was expected to be generated by the gas tax.
But critics say Malloy is to blame for the shortfall. Republican state Senate President Pro Tem Len Fasano told the Associated Press that Democrats and the governor took $164 million from the transportation fund to balance state budgets.
“Now, Gov. Malloy and Democrats are trying to use the problem they created to force the Legislature to approve new taxes and more burdens on commuters,” Fasno told the AP.
Appropriating funds from one part of a city or state budget to cover other costs is not new or unusual when it comes to governmental operations. But to do so at the risk of jeopardizing public safety is wrong.
To delay repairs on deficient bridges and crumbling roadways while postponing maintenance and improvements on the state’s highways may, in the short-term, save money. But the long-term impact of doing so can be much more costly in the end.
Malloy promised to put forth a new transportation spending plan when the state legislature reconvenes next month but provided no details. He said projects with secured federal funding will be done.
Let’s hope Malloy’s plan isn’t costly to taxpayers’ wallets or detrimental to the safety of our roadways.