Danbury Letter: Transportation Infrastructure Continues To Suffer

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State Representative David A. Scribner.
State Representative David A. Scribner. Photo Credit: Contributed

DANBURY, Conn. -- The Danbury Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send letters to danbury@dailyvoice.com.

To the edtior: 

Recent reports have brought to light the deplorable condition of Connecticut’s roads and bridges.

A new analysis released by the White House reveals that in Connecticut, 41 percent of the 21,414 miles of public roads are rated “poor.” According to the report, “crumbling roads and bridges cut into economic growth, by increasing transportation costs and delaying shipments.”

Moreover, the American Society of Civil Engineers reports that Connecticut is tied with Rhode Island as having the worst roads in the nation.

Despite these dubious distinctions, the General Assembly continues to play shell games with the Special Transportation Fund.

Last year, the Democrat-controlled legislature and the governor pushed through legislation to raid $110 million from transportation funding to help balance their bloated budget.

The same Democrat officials continue to promote legislation to reintroduce tolls on Connecticut highways. Another layer of taxation out of our pockets with no guarantee that it will be protected for transportation projects exclusively will only lead to a bigger government that squanders your money on unrelated programs and services. For that reason, I continue to lead the battle against tolls.

In an effort to combat the shifting of existing gasoline tax revenue, last year I championed legislation (P.A. 13-277) that would limit use of that funding for exclusively transportation-related purposes. Democrats agreed to support the measure under the condition that the protection of those funds does not apply until 2015 – allotting them time to sweep money once again in 2014.

With a projected deficit of nearly $3 billion in the next state budget cycle, it is no surprise they would foresee the need to grab transportation funding for unrelated services and programs.

The deplorable condition of our state’s roads and bridges is especially surprising and frustrating to people, considering that we pay among the highest gasoline taxes in the country. Why should Connecticut commuters pay more, and in return suffer with run-down infrastructure?

Crumbling roads and bridges is not just a matter of budgetary gimmicks; it is a matter of safety. If we continue to play fiscal shell games with transportation funding, I fear we will not only grow the budget deficit with one-shot revenue tricks, but jeopardize public safety.

As Ranking Member of the Transportation and Transportation Bonding Committees, I will continue to be a vocal advocate for government transparency and a proponent of public safety.

If you would like to discuss our state’s transportation funding woes, contact my office at 1-800-842-1423 or David.Scribner@housegop.ct.gov.

Rep. David A. Scribner

Assistant House Minority Leader Scribner is the Ranking Member and longest serving leader of the Transportation Committee and Transportation Bonding Subcommittee. 

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