FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – The state Department of Transportation is indefinitely postponing hundreds of transportation projects totaling $4.3 billion until more revenue can be secured for the state's Special Transportation Fund, which is used to pay for repair projects and the operation of the DOT, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday.
The postponement of the projects is on top of a proposal to increase fares on train and bus services in the state. The DOT has proposed an increase of 10 percent on rail fares, and a 25 cent increase in bus fares this year, followed by 5 percent increases on rail fares in 2020 and 2021. There would also be a reduction in service as part of the proposal.
Malloy said Tuesday that the STF, which funds the operating costs and well as repair and maintenance on transportation systems in the state, is in need of more funding. He cited a recent report that said that without action by the state legislature, the fund will be in deficit by the end of the next fiscal year.
“We need to ensure the long term solvency of the Special Transportation Fund,” Malloy said. “I want to be very clear: this list that we are sharing today is not a hypothetical list of projects. These are real projects that previously were on the go list. Now they’re off that list, and they will not be restarted until more funding is available to the STF.”
DOT Commissioner James Redeker said the state is at a point where it effectively looking at “a 40 percent reduction in the DOT Capital Program over the next five years without additional revenue.”
Redeker said the DOT has already begun to stop projects that are ready to go to construction because of the lack of funds. Eight projects were stopped before November for a total of $27 million, and by April another four projects will be stopped for a total of $300 million, he said.
“Every town in the state is affected by this indefinite postponement,” said Malloy. “All of these projects are critically important to the state of Connecticut, to the benefit of its citizens, to the safety of its citizens, and to economic development.”
Malloy said that he plans on introducing a plan to restore stability to the STF, which will be released later this month. He said he wants to work with legislators and advocates to come up with a sustainable solution to the state's transportation funding problems.
The DOT will hold public hearings on the proposed fare increases in the coming weeks, with a schedule of the hearings expected to be released next week.
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