HARTFORD – State Representative Adam Dunsby (R-135) has joined calls from municipal officials across Connecticut in requesting the immediate release of overdue state aid following the third nor’easter to hit the state in two weeks. In December, Governor Dannel Malloy announced $30 million in Town Aid Road (TAR) grants would be withheld because of the Special Transportation Fund’s persistent budget shortfall.
Rep. Dunsby, who is also First Selectman of Easton, noted additional winter snowfalls have made further dents on public works and snow removal budgets in Easton, Redding, and Weston, especially given rampant power outages in the region. He is urging state officials to hasten the release of funds communities normally would have received in January.
“The three late season nor’easters we have faced this month combined with the continued delay of state aid towns had been promised makes me very concerned for the condition of local roads this spring,” said Rep. Dunsby. “The three storms and wildly fluctuating temperatures this winter will cause serious damage to pavement. Potholes and other road hazards may be pervasive this spring if towns do not have the funds right now to bid and enter into contracts to move forward with urgent construction projects. This is the wrong place for the state to be looking for savings.”
The governor has made TAR grants a political football this year in his dispute with the legislature regarding funding for the Special Transportation Fund. The state budgeted $60 million in TAR grants for the fiscal year, but the governor decided to suspend half of that funding, claiming insufficient revenue had been collected.
“Towns recognize the state is mired in an ongoing fiscal crisis and that their state funding will be lower than they usually expect, but their biggest request has been for funds not to be cut mid-year like this,” said Rep. Dunsby. “It is unfortunate the governor has chosen to hold TAR grants hostage in his quest for tolls and a higher gas tax. The governor needs to release these funds immediately.”
Rep. Dunsby has asked the governor to put TAR grants on the agenda for the next State Bond Commission this spring in order to ensure towns have sufficient funding for infrastructure projects.