HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) –Is the transportation funding crisis real? Gov. Dan Malloy’s administration says the fund will be in the red next year, but that’s being disputed by a Republican member of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.
The Malloy administration says cut backs in service and fare hikes will be needed next year. Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden) says the Governor’s transportation plan is full of pot holes.Related Content: State’s Special Transportation Fund headed for the red
According to Malloy, declining revenue from the state taxes on gasoline is what’s causing the “Special Transportation Fund” to be headed into deficit, due in part to declining gasoline sales because cars and trucks are getting better mileage. But Suzio has found in the D.O.T.’S own numbers.a slight decrease this year, but that over the past three years gasoline consumption has actually gone up over 58 million gallons.
Says Suzio, “The Governor and those people that are pushing for a big tax hike either in the form of gas taxes or the notorious mileage tax or tolls are making their argument based on a false premise.”Related Content: Gov. Malloy, News 8’s Mark Davis have animated exchange on transportation
The Governor, who has devoted a lot of time to visiting transportation construction sites over the past two years, has proposed more than $1 billion in projects for next year. Suzio admits, a lot of projects are necessary, but that the pace of increased spending is a big part of the problem.
The Malloy Administration says that the gas tax will not keep up with inflation or with rising interest rates on borrowing to pay for the projects. Suzio says the interest estimates are inflated adding, “It’s designed to make it look bad. The Governor’s plan is full of pot holes.”
The Democratic co-chair of the committee, Rep. Tony Guerrera (D-Rocky Hill), who’s in the construction trades himself, says Suzio is ignoring an important factor. “The cost of doing construction, materials, is skyrocketing.”
The Malloy administration says expenditures are growing faster than revenue because so much of the infrastructure has been neglected for so long that the repairs and rebuilds can’t wait.