Trump DOT officials telling state leaders about transportation funding options

Politics

NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)– Officials from the Trump Administration came to state D.O.T. headquarters in Newington to explain what they had to offer in funding for Connecticut transportation infrastructure.

They met behind closed doors for several hours explaining the system of very low interest loans and how to apply for them.

After. the Minority Leader in the House, Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) saying, “I think it is a game changer in a lot of ways. Seeing how that rolls out and what it looks like in the end is obviously a different situation but as of today, I think this is something we should be hopeful about.”

But those who favor electronic highway tolls came away unconvinced that it changes anything.

Sen. Alex Bergstein (D-Greenwich) is Vice Chair of the legislature’s transportation committee and said, “The feds are not going to bail us out so it’s really fantasy to think that the federal government is going to all of a sudden start funding our transportation needs.”

But no matter how the state decides to pay for the highway improvements and the rail improvements available under the Trump ‘Build America’ programs, there appears to be agreement there is opportunity here.

“This is going to cause us all to focus on what we’re going to do. How we’re going to do it and the methodology and scheduling for it,” said Senate Minority Leader Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven).

The Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) adding, “This program is an excellent program in the sense that it’s low interest rates, it’s long term and it allows us to look at, holistically our transportation infrastructure throughout the state.”

Governor Ned Lamont (D-Connecticut) saying this about his contact with the federal transportation officials in the Trump Administration, “We’ve had very constructive conversations with them about what we can do going forward. How we can access some of that federal money. How we can get some of those zero interest loans up front so we can get going until we have that recurring source of revenue in place.”

But no matter how attractive these very low interest loans may be the state still would have to have a revenue stream in place to pay them back.

Bergstein saying “Higher taxes because you’re paying debt obligations or tolls where up to half of the bill is paid by somebody else.”

An argument frequently used by Governor Lamont.

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