Connecticut will borrow nearly $ 1 billion to fund economic development and state revitalization.
The government bonds commission on Tuesday approved nearly $ 840 million to fund modernization of the transportation system, including highways, bridges and stations. It also approved $ 124 million for downtown redevelopment projects, job creation grants and minority business loan programs.
Governor Ned Lamont said these improvements were long overdue.
“Not only is there a workforce development there, but the focus is probably more on small businesses,” Lamont said. “A little less on the big dollar for big business, with a particular focus on women and minority businesses and startups and small businesses and into the future. And a great commitment to affordable housing. It is an economic development as well as an incentive for equity.
He said he expected the borrowed money to be funded by federal infrastructure spending approved last month.
“A good amount of pulp under the deep energy, environment and transportation, which is about 60% of this program,” Lamont said. “And it’s not just about continuing other investments, but also planning the infrastructure funds coming out of Washington, DC, and making sure we have the design and engineering that we need there.” -low. So we’ll be ready to go.
“These transportation priorities are an important down payment on the future of Connecticut’s infrastructure,” Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said in a statement. “The federal infrastructure bill is a game-changer and the governor is making sure the cards are stacked in Connecticut’s favor.”
Lamont said he would have preferred a list of projects targeting climate resilience to be paid for by carbon pricing rather than borrowing. These revenues are said to come from the Transportation and Climate Initiative, but they were not approved by the Connecticut legislature this year.
Last month, Lamont announced a list of climate resilience programs without going through the Legislative Assembly. He said a campaign “carefully orchestrated” by fossil fuel lobbyists derailed state legislators’ approval of the regional climate initiative.
A study found that most Connecticut climate related bills die in legislative committees because of energy industry lobbyists who spend more than environmental organizations.
He said these climate resilience projects are more important now due to frequent severe storms and rising sea levels due to climate change.
Stormwater infrastructure improvements and the revitalization of highways, bridges and stations are planned with this money. The state also wants to replace aging diesel trains and electrify public buses.
The state’s investment has defied Lamont’s goal since being elected governor of Connecticut in 2018 to put the state on “debt regime.” He wanted to reduce long-term debt service payments, but backed by federal coronavirus and infrastructure funding, the state has made long-sought investments.
“The state is in a pretty good financial situation. We are looking at our third consecutive year of surplus. The markets are getting a little dodgy there, ”Lamont said. “But luckily we got our [over $3 billion] fully funded rainy day fund.
More key approvals
- $ 280 million to purchase dual horsepower locomotives to replace aging diesel trains and enable electric train service where overhead cables are available and enable new express train service to New York City.
- $ 30 million representing the first of two annual payments to municipalities for the maintenance of local roads.
- $ 35 million to build the new Enfield station and $ 12 million to renovate the Derby-Shelton station.
- $ 61 million to reconfigure the I-91, I-691 and Route 15 interchanges in Meriden to reduce congestion and improve accident safety on this segment of the freeway.
- $ 12 million for an additional round of grants to local projects that improve road safety and pedestrian and cyclist access through the state’s Community Connectivity and Alternative Mobility program.
- $ 2.5 million to match $ 10 million in federal funds to purchase battery-powered electric buses for CTtransit to replace their existing diesel vehicles.
- $ 25 million will be invested in the Connecticut Communities Challenge Grant Program. Launched in October, this program funds projects that improve livability in communities across Connecticut. The state will announce the first round of awards by mid-2022. The objective of the state agency is to allocate up to 50% of the funds to eligible and competitive projects in “municipalities in difficulty”.
- $ 21 million will be invested in the Small Business Express program, which provides financial assistance to growing small businesses in Connecticut.
- $ 5 million will be invested for the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy’s CareerConneCT program which will be used to improve and expand workforce training programs across the state and provide direct support for new workforce initiatives. work focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
- $ 4 million will be invested in the state’s minority business loan program.
- $ 10 million will be provided to the City of Bridgeport for the redevelopment and remediation of the former Remington Arms facility.
- $ 2 million will be provided to the City of New Haven to help build tunnels, driveways and sidewalk improvements in the city related to the development of an office building at 101 College Street.