HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Republican leaders in the Connecticut State Senate have put an alternative transportation plan on the table at the Capitol that includes no new taxes and no highway tolls. They’re doing it with a complicated re-financing of state obligations and using some of the state’s ‘Rainy Day Fund.’
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Len Fasano (R-North Haven) saying, “A historic amount of money that’s in the ‘Rainy Day Fund,’ historic.”
The historic amount of cash that Fasano is talking about is the $2 billion-plus that is accumulating in the State’s ‘Rainy Day Fund’ because the state has been collecting more in taxes than it is spending on a yearly basis.
Receipts at the State Tax department are projected to continue in surplus and the Senate Republicans are proposing to use part of the surplus to pay down existing debt and state pension obligations saving money and improving state cash flow.
Fasano explaining the complicated idea this way: “If you had a savings account that was earning a half percent and you had a credit card that you’re paying 23%, why would you not take your savings and pay down on your debt, reduce your liability and freeing your cash flow?”
The plan calls for re-establishing the ‘State Transportation Strategy Board,’ a panel of construction, business, and transportation leaders to determine which road and bridge projects to fund and a Railway Transportation Strategy Board in conjunction with the State of New York to prioritize rail projects.
Deputy Senate Republican Leader Sen. Henri Martin/(R-Bristol) saying, “It was very clear; the people do not want tolls because they are taxed enough and because of lack of trust.”
They say the plan can fund $18 billion in projects over the next ten years with no taxes and no tolls because that’s what they heard from the public.
Governor Ned Lamont issuing a statement saying; “While I appreciate Sen. Fasano’s proposal to partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments, taking money out of the ‘Rainy Day Fund’ is a risky proposition that requires serious evaluation.”
Democratic Senate President Pro tem Martin Looney (D-New Haven) saying he looks forward to a possible bi-partisan solution and welcomes this new plan and wants to see a complete analysis of the numbers.