Commentary on transportation in Connecticut and the Northeast by JIM CAMERON, for 19 years a member of the CT Rail Commuter Council.
Jim is also the founder of a new advocacy effort: www.CommuterActionGroup.org
Disclaimer: his comments are only his own. All contents of this blog are (c) Cameron Communications Inc
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April 11, 2015
Paying for Malloy's $100 Billion Wish List
is no question that Governor Malloy’s proposed $100 Billion transportation plan for our state is, as he puts it,
“bold”. The question is, is it
achievable? When asked which projects
are important and should be prioritized, he insists it’s “all of them”.
Really? Is turning little Oxford Airport into an
international terminal, just 58 miles from Bradley, as important as fixing
Metro-North? Can we really spend $780
million on bike and
The 118 yr old Walk Bridge
pedestrian thoroughfares when we don’t have money to repair
crucial bridges on the New Haven line?
And is spending $1.6 billion to widen I-95 from Stamford to the NY state
line even necessary?
problem is, the Governor’s plan isn’t a plan.
It’s a wish list, with something for everyone in the state. His “plan” is of
unknown origin. Nobody has vetted these
projects to say what makes sense and what doesn’t. Nor has the Governor offered any ideas on how
to pay for them. Instead he’s created a panel of experts tasked with coming up with those
answers by the end of this summer, an unenviable job indeed.
my Daddy taught me, “there is no free lunch”.
And there is no way to pay for any of these projects without significant
pain. A $100 billion plan would cost
each man, woman and child in this state $27,800 to pay for it. Even spread over 50 years, that’s $556 per
person per year. Are you in?
the Governor admits that highway tolls wouldn’t be enough, covering only
one-third of the total cost. And we know
how popular tolling is. So where else do
we get the money?
the alternatives… a sales tax increase, higher gas taxes and real estate
transfer fees. Anything on that list to
your liking so far?
about “privatization”, in effect selling off state-owned
roads and bridges to private companies, allowing them to charge whatever they’d
like to use them?
Is it just by chance
that this alternative is being floated by former Malloy campaign manager
Occhiogrosso & The Governor
top aide Roy Occhiogrossowho just happens to now be working for a firm, HNTB
Corp, that specializes in such deals? What does Mr. Occhiogrosso know about the
Governor’s plans that we don’t, but should?
has been tried before. In 2006 cash-strapped
Indiana sold its 50-year-old East West Toll Road (“The Main Street of the Midwest”) to an Australian–Spanish
conglomerate, netting the state $3.8 billion in return for the right to operate the
crucial highway for 75 years. (PS: Goldman
Sachs earned a reported $200 million just for brokering the deal.) In the
first year of operations, tolls almost doubled. Surprised?
face it: Governor Malloy is very
shrewd. He gets to look like Santa
Claus, dolling out transportation goodies across the state while being able to
blame his financing strategy team for assigning the costs. This entire debate warrants very close
scrutiny because, whatever its outcome, we will all be paying for it for many