State Bond Commission Approves $340 Million in Projects; Debt Diet Over?

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Is the state’s debt diet over? Governor Ned Lamont said he is waiting to see what comes out of Washington D.C. from the Biden Administration.

On Friday, $340 million worth of borrowing approved by the state bond commission.

The group hasn’t met since last December. This meeting was done virtually as were the others during the pandemic. Technical glitches aside, Governor Lamont’s team saying the 1.8 percent interest rate is a good discount when trying to borrow for big projects.

Secretary Melissa McCaw in charge of the Office of Policy and Management said, “If we can borrow at a lower cost it lets us stretch our debt service dollars further.”

Among the 30-items on the agend was the Connecticut Port Authority project on the State Pier in New London. The authority will receive more than $55-million for upgrades. It’s home base for an off shore wind project.

State Rep. Holly Cheeseman a Republican from East Lyme who is a member of the commission had a question about cost overruns on the project.

“Is this intended to address some of those?”

Deputy Secretary Kosta Diamantis from the Office of Policy and Management said he wouldn’t categorize the extra dollars as cost overruns but now that this administration has all of the information the team has a plan to handle all costs.

“The total cost of this project which is an actual cost is $235 million.”

“This center of wind power allows us assemble and make key components for wind power for this region and the country,” added Governor Ned Lamont.

Lamont is a proponent of the project because it is a public private partnership. But the state owns the pier.

Also approved $80-million for highway and bridge projects. Including, I-84 in the Hartford and Waterbury areas.

$27-million for phase one and two apartment and restaurant projects on Pratt and Elm Streets in Hartford.

The commission also approved $34-million for flexible housing projects around the state including several in New Haven.

$30-million for information technology upgrades to state systems. $76-million for grants in aid to municipalities.

The law enforcement firing range in Simsbury will get $2 million for fixes because of flooding.

The range is used for state police and local law enforcement training. Several administrations have been deciding whether to move it.

Lamont’s team officials from OPM confirmed there are no intentions of moving it to Griswold in eastern Connecticut which has been controversial in the past.

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