Posted on December 5, 2019
HARTFORD – House Republican Leader Themis Klarides today criticized Gov. Lamont for punishing towns and cities by holding hostage millions in local aid that they rely on to maintain and plow roads as municipalities dig out from the first major snowfall of the year.
“This is a failure of leadership on the part of the governor. The calendar says it is December and the administration is still holding hostage much-needed funds that towns and cities rely on to maintain and plow their roads,’’ Klarides said. “This is petty politics over an ill-conceived plan to put tolls on our highways.”
There has been no agreement on an overall bond package which is typically done along with the budget in June. Towns and cities were due $30 million in bonding in Town Aid Road (TAR) money in July that never went out. Another $30 million is due in January. Municipalities were forced to fix and maintain roads last summer by raiding other accounts.
“The snow is now flying and our towns and cities are wondering when the State of Connecticut is going to make good on its commitment to them,” Klarides said. “The longer this goes on the more dire the situation is going to get. And over what? A toll initiative that the public has said it does not want.”
Lamont has delayed the bond package saying he wants lawmakers to commit to a new revenue stream to support transportation – namely tolls. Republicans oppose tolls.
During the 2018 campaign Lamont said he would only toll trucks on state roads, a campaign promise he broke a month after taking office when he issued a plan that also included tolls on cars. Now, along with legislative Democrats, he supports the truck-only approach.
Klarides said local leaders are worried that with the advent of the first big snow storm they will struggle to get through the winter and no one can afford to cut corners on plowing roads.
“This is becoming a public safety issue,” she said.