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Lamont stand off with legislature putting squeeze on towns

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont has again cancelled a meeting of the State Bonding Commission. That means cities and towns will have to wait even longer for cash that was expected in July to pay for town road improvements.

This is the latest development in the stand-off between Governor Lamont and the legislature over his plan to impose electronic tolling to pay for state transportation improvements.

Many cities and towns have been moving ahead with their summer repaving and road repair programs despite the fact that millions in state funding under a program called ‘Town Aid Road‘ or ‘TAR’ for short, is months overdue because the Governor refuses to authorize the routine borrowing that pays for it.

Cromwell Town Manager Tony Salvatore said of her town’s funding of road projects: “A little bit of a squeeze because we’re taking it from operations.”

Salvatore says the operations account they’re taking it from is the account that pays for snow removal and buying the sand and salt that’s needed for the winter ahead.

Many other towns are doing the same thing. If that ‘TAR’ money doesn’t come soon, towns will have to do more money shuffling.

Salvatore added, “It’s going to mean that I’m going to have to go back to the council and the Board of Finance for a special appropriation and maybe, in some cases, things that we normally do, we’re not going to able to do.”

Governor Lamont is fond of saying he delivered a state budget on time so towns were able to do their education budgets on time. But Salvatore says this hold up is just as bad.

Lamont is holding up lots of borrowing because he wants a deal on his 10 year, multi-billion-dollar transportation plan, a plan that still has not been released.

Lamont saying Monday, “We’ll tell the municipalities very soon
what they can expect.”

When asked again how close he is to releasing his big transportation plan, he said the same thing he’s been saying for the past two weeks, ‘Don’t I tell you 2-3 weeks every 2-3 weeks?’ (yeah) “Soon.”

The Governor adds that he has to know how much borrowing the state legislature is going to allow for transportation before he makes a decision on any other borrowing.

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