April 24, 2024

CT to leave big transportation funds unspent

Editors’ Note: This week, CT Mirror is publishing our Best of 2023 series. We asked each of our reporters to choose their favorite story they reported this year. This story, originally published on Sept. 29, 2023, was chosen by State Budget Reporter Keith M. Phaneuf.

“I’ve spent much of my career reporting on governors and legislators insisting the state needs more revenue (from tolls, gas tax receipts, etc.) to support Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure rebuild. But when the Special Transportation Fund was poised to finish with a big surplus — even after forfeiting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue through a gas tax holiday — I had to explain why the flush coffers weren’t necessarily proof that all the state’s infrastructure needs had been met.”

President Joe Biden and Congress have dangled $1.2 trillion in matching funds before states for the past two years, challenging them to invest in their aging highways, bridges and other infrastructure.

But Connecticut has resisted that lure somewhat, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars unspent in its transportation fund since 2021 — and projecting another huge surplus in the program this fiscal year.

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