Connecticut governor calls for more bridge funding

| 8/13/2007

With states across the country re-examining the safety of their bridges in the wake of the recent collapse in Minnesota, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell is calling for state lawmakers to authorize more money for bridge work.

Rell is likely to ask House and Senate lawmakers to include $100 million in the state’s bonding package to help speed up bridge inspections, repairs and replacements during the next two years.

In light of this month’s deadly collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge in Minneapolis, Rell wants $60 million to be added to her state’s bond package, which is expected to be considered during a special session at the statehouse later this month or in September. The money would supplement the $40 million she’s already requested.

The governor said the $100 million request might put the state in position to receive up to $400 million in matching federal funds, The Associated Press reported. The federal government pays 80 percent of the cost of eligible bridge repair and replacement projects.

Once the bond package is finalized, the Connecticut Department of Transportation will develop a priority list of bridge projects and a schedule for the work.

A federal 2006 survey of the state’s more than 5,300 bridges discovered 411 whose condition was rated “poor.” A dozen more were deemed to have “critical” need of major repairs or replacement.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Connecticut in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor