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Area lawmakers see holes in transportation funding constitution lockbox

Increased taxes and new fees were the main sources of money proposed by the Governor's Transportation Funding Panel to pay for infrastructure improvements.  Danbury State Senator Mike McLachlan says the panel failed to recognize that if tolls are put back on the roads, the federal government is going to stop sending money to the state each year.


Another issue with tolling according to McLachlan is that it takes a substantial amount of money to buy the equipment, get it up and running and for ongoing operations.  He noted that it's at least two years from the time a decision is made to implement tolls, until they are in place.


McLachlan says a plan released by the Republican caucus last year would preserve current Special Tax Obligation bonds dedicated to transportation and reserve a set amount of General Obligation Bonds to be used solely for transportation priorities.


Governor Dannel Malloy says a constitutional amendment creating a lock box for transportation funds needs to be approved by the legislature and the voters before any financing plan is implemented.


McLachlan called for the legislature to stop robbing the Special Transportation Fund of about $75 million each year.  When the state borrows money to fix roads and bridges, he says that money could instead pay for the debt service.  McLachlan says the so-called lock box must not be able to be picked.  He thinks it should restrict all spending to capital improvements, not salaries and not the DMV.


Newtown state Representative Mitch Bolisnky voted against the transportation funding lock box proposal during a vote on a mid-year budget-trimming plan saying that the legislation creating the program came with a $35 million raid of special transportation fund dollars.

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