Connecticut governor OKs transportation funding

| 7/12/2005

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has signed into law a 10-year, $1.3billion plan to combat gridlock on Connecticut’s roads and improve rail service in the state.

The transportation improvement plan won nearly unanimous support in the Legislature late last month during a special session to hammer out a deal.

The bill, SB2000, includes $187 million for improvements on congested stretches of Interstate 95 and $150 million to help upgrade I-94 and I-84. It also includes $667 million to purchase 342 new passenger rail cars in the next decade – an effort to improve service and entice commuters out of their vehicles and off congested highways.

Another $300 million is included for new rail maintenance facilities. There is $7.5 million for new transit buses.

Financing for the plan will come from special tax obligation bonds, a $1 surcharge on the New Haven line from January 2008 through June 2015 and an increased gross earning tax on companies distributing petroleum products, The Stamford Advocate reported.

Those products include gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel, kerosene, benzol, distillate fuels and crude oil.

“Congested roads are more than a headache for commuters; they can be a serious detriment to economic development and our ability to attract new companies to Connecticut,” Rell said in a written statement. “This legislation will keep Connecticut going and growing.”