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CT Construction Digest Friday November15, 2019

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CT2030


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Senate Republicans say CT can pay for transportation upgrades without tolls in plan that Lamont says is "risky.'' Here’s how GOP plan would work.

One day after Democrats threw cold water on Gov. Ned Lamont’s highway toll plan, Senate Republicans unveiled an alternative transportation proposal Thursday with no tolls and no tax increases.Republicans are calling for taking $1.5 billion from the state’s projected $2.9 billion rainy day fund in order to pay off pension liabilities, freeing up about $130 million a year that could be used for transportation. The plan also dedicates $100 million in state borrowing each year on transportation over other projects.Lawmakers had been working behind closed doors in recent weeks as they crafted the plan that was explained in charts and graphics in an 18-page presentation.The Republican proposal is for 10 years and $18 billion, compared to 10 years and $21 billion for Lamont. The difference is in how they pay for it.“We simply cannot support tolls. We can’t do it,” Senate Republican leader Len Fasano of North Haven told reporters Thursday at the state Capitol in Hartford.The Republican plan calls for reestablishing the former Transportation Strategy Board that was dismantled by then-Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and also creating a separate board to encourage cooperation with New York state because Metro-North Commuter Railroad riders need improvements in both states to speed the ride to Grand Central Station in Manhattan.Lamont has already held a series of meetings with Cuomo in New York and Connecticut on a variety of issues and has established an ongoing dialogue, "which we never had under the Malloy administration,'' Fasano said.The Republican plan is complicated in some ways, as shown by a chart with a 10-year projection that includes numbers in 15 categories regarding expenses and debt service. Part of the funding source is using money from the sales tax of cars to be placed into the state’s Special Transportation Fund. Under current consensus revenue projections, the money from the car sales tax in the Special Transportation Fund is projected to jump from $417 million in the current fiscal year to more than $750 million in the 2023 fiscal year.The Republican plan could eventually form a building block for a potential bipartisan compromise, based on comments by Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney, a New Haven Democrat who has known Fasano for years."We appreciate Senator Fasano’s plan and his continued work to find a bipartisan solution to Connecticut’s transportation crisis,'' Looney said. "We agree that our Rainy Day Fund is currently at a historically high level and that the bipartisan budget passed in 2017 established policies to promote future fiscal stability.''Looney added, “I look forward to coming to a bipartisan solution on transportation which accomplishes all the critical projects in the CT 2030 transportation plan presented by Governor Lamont. As with the Fiscal Year 18-19 state budget mentioned by Senator Fasano, Connecticut succeeds best when both parties work together.” But Lamont was cautious about the plan, saying it needs more study.“While I appreciate Senator Fasano’s proposal to partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments, taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund is a risky proposition that requires serious evaluation,'' Lamont said.Lamont noted that proposal calls for investing $15.6 billion in "making our infrastructure safer'' and an additional $5.5 billion in "transformative enhancement projects'' across the state.Republican lawmakers did not reveal a separate list of projects to be fixed, saying they would work from a list prepared by experts at the state transportation department under the Lamont administration. Republicans said they are not transportation specialists and added that they would defer to the career officials on the issue.
The Republican plan was released one day after Senate Democrats backed away from Lamont’s toll plan and said they were considering legalizing recreational marijuana and sports betting as possible ways to help fund the new transportation plan. Democrats failed to generate enough votes for Lamont’s prior plan for 53 overhead toll gantries on I-95, I-91, I-84 and Route 15, and opposition still remains for his updated plan of 14 gantries on eight highways across the state.Lamont spent nearly two hours Wednesday in closed-door talks on tolls with on-the-fence Senate Democrats, but he said afterward he had not immediately generated any additional votes for his plan.Since the legislature currently lacks the votes for tolls, Democrats are exploring alternative sources of funding that would pay back the low-interest federal loans that would be used to finance major construction projects at “choke points” in Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport and beyond. The Republican plan relies on the same federal loans.But Lamont is skeptical on the alternative financing, saying that marijuana and sports betting would likely not raise the necessary $320 million a year that tolls are projected to generate in order to pay back the federal loans. Federal officials require a reliable revenue stream in order to pay back the loans.Democratic lawmakers and Lamont could not immediately be reached for comment on the Republican plan.The plans by Republicans and Lamont are both far smaller than the 30-year, $100 billion proposal by Malloy that was never approved by the legislature.House Republican leader Themis Klarides of Derby, who criticized Lamont’s $21 billion plan as too expensive, said her caucus is crafting its own plan.“The Senate Republican transportation initiative represents an alternative to the governor’s that allows for significant investments in our infrastructure without asking motorists and taxpayers to pay tolls,'' she said. "Our House Republican plan that is still evolving is similar in concept and scope in that it also contains no tolls.’’

Senate GOP’s no-tolls alternative relies on rainy day fund
and
The Senate Republican minority on Thursday proposed using budget reserves in a complex and creative way to finance an overhaul of Connecticut’s creaky transportation system without tolls or new taxes, inviting Gov. Ned Lamont and Democratic lawmakers to weigh those political advantages against sacrifices and risks inherent in the plan.
The GOP would use nearly two-thirds of the state’s budget reserves to pay down pension liabilities, producing an annual savings of $130 million that could be spent on transportation. Another $100 million would come from cutting annual borrowing for things such as capital spending on local schools and public universities.
The economic and political risks would be significant. Connecticut would lose borrowing capacity to meet other needs, and it would leave itself vulnerable in a recession. Politically, it would require Lamont to compromise one of his first principles: The importance of resisting the temptation to spend the reserves.
The governor and Democratic lawmakers responded cautiously, praising Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, for recognizing the importance of transportation investment, but stopping well short of endorsing tapping reserves.
“While I appreciate Senator Fasano’s proposal to partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments, taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund is a risky proposition that requires serious evaluation,” Lamont said.
The governor has been insistent since he took office in January on building a cushion against the next recession.
“There’s a tendency to want to spend [the reserves] and defer the tough choices we know we have to make,” Lamont told CT Mirror in a post-election interview a year ago. “But you know how volatile our income taxes can be. If the bottom falls out … we ought to be ready.”
 Fasano has been working on the alternative for weeks, but the time of its completion could be propitious, coming a day after Senate Democrats took tolls off the table as a financing mechanism.
“We recognize the the hard work that Gov. Lamont has put into his CT2030 plan, but we do not support tolls, which is why we worked to offer this no-tolls alternative,” Fasano said in unveiling the GOP alternative, FASTR CT. “We developed FASTR CT to show there is another way to invest in transportation and grow jobs in a manner that is sustainable and accountable to taxpayers — all without tolls.”
Lamont greatly scaled back the tolls in his original plan proposed in February, instead seeking 14 highway tolls that would provide $320 million in annual revenue — a dedicated revenue stream needed to leverage low-cost financing for $21 billion in transit and highway improvements over 10 years.
The GOP’s alternative  echoes several of the non-tolls elements of Lamont’s latest transportation initiative, including reliance on low-interest federal financing and an aggressive transfer of sales tax receipts from the budget’s General Fund into the transportation program.
With a cash flow of $230 million, however, the GOP plan would produce only 70% of the revenue projected from Lamont’s tolls plan, necessitating a downsizing of some of the projects in his plan, CT2030.
But the GOP says it still could finance $18 billion in transportation spending over the next decade, giving Lamont a significant portion of transportation improvements he says are vital to spark economic growth and keep the state in the running for obtaining cheap federal financing.
The construction industry, which has seen a loss of jobs in the past year, reacted positively, if cautiously.
“I think it’s encouraging,” said Nate Brown of the International Union of Operating Engineers, one of the building trades desperate for more work. “It should be looked at.”
 “I think this is a very interesting discussion today,” said Don Shubert, the president of Connecticut Construction Industry Association, “And it’s very, very encouraging for anybody that’s a transportation advocate to see the discussion at this level.”
Whether the plan would be embraced by the Democratic majority was unclear. Legislators echoed the administration in saying there was much to review, praising Fasano for playing a constructive role and sounding a note of caution.
“Our transportation infrastructure is decaying and in need of historic investments so it is important to listen to all ideas and potential solutions,” said House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin. “I am still reviewing Senator Fasano’s proposal; however, I do have concerns about such a significant raid on the rainy day fund as the cornerstone of the funding plan.”
House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, whose relationship with Fasano has been strained at times, was complimentary of the alternative produced by Republican senators without House GOP involvement.
“The Senate Republican transportation initiative represents an alternative to the governor’s that allows for significant investments in our infrastructure without asking motorists and taxpayers to pay tolls,” Klarides said.
Her own caucus, she said, was working on a similar plan.
Converting pension woes into a transportation plus
Just how would Senate Republicans use Connecticut’s cash-starved state employee pension fund — which suffers from seven decades of poor savings habits — into an asset for transportation?
It’s complicated, but step one is to crack open the $2.5 billion budget reserves set aside by the administrations of Lamont and former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy over the past two years.
Connecticut has yet to recover all jobs lost in the Great Recession of 2008. Most of the reserve is due to surging income tax receipts tied to capital gains, rather than from broad economic growth.
Still, $2.5 billion in the rainy day fund — equal to 13% of annual operating costs — easily shatters the last record reserve of $1.4 billion, or 8%, held back in 2008.
The Senate GOP would take $1.5 billion of that reserve and deposit it into the pension fund.
Why not just assign it straight to the budget’s Special Transportation Fund? Because that would push spending this year, and likely in subsequent years, over the statutory spending cap, which Republicans say they won’t break.
But pension contributions are cap exempt. And as pension fund assets rise, required contributions going forward shrink.
A $1.5 billion infusion won’t come close to solving all of the state’s pension woes. But nonpartisan analysts project it would justify reducing annual contributions by $130 million.
These funds then would be redirected to transportation. And like Lamont planned for some of his toll receipts, Republicans also would use this pension savings and some other resources in the Special Transportation Fund to pay cash for many infrastructure projects — sparing Connecticut hundreds of millions of dollars in interest costs over the coming decade.
“This is not a raid on the budget reserve,” Fasano said. While legislators and governors in the 1990s and 2000s routinely used reserves for one-time expenses, this proposal, Fasano said respects taxpayers by reducing debt and accelerating a transportation rebuild.
 “This is the way you give it back it back to them: an investment in the state of Connecticut to get the state of Connecticut to grow.”
Add a little bit of ‘Prioritize Progress’
But the pension pay-down still wouldn’t free up enough resources to do the entire job.
Connecticut’s transportation capital program barely maintains the state of good repair of its highways, bridges and rail lines, allowing little funding for strategic enhancements to reduce congestion.
The next step in the Senate Republican plan finds more resources to tackle this priority by reviving and modifying an earlier proposal it called “Prioritize Progress.”
Rather than charge motorist fees, Republicans suggested Connecticut redirect hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing from school construction, higher education, state building renovations, community-based projects and other initiatives into transportation. Democrats said the plan would cause as many problems as it solved.
But for FASTR CT to work, Republicans now say they need just $100 million per year from this area. Hoping to win Lamont’s approval, the GOP notes this approach still would accommodate the governor’s proposal for a “debt diet.”
Lamont wants to curb borrowing in non-transportation areas by as much as $500 million per year, though he’s struggled to win support for this idea from his fellow Democrats in the House and Senate majorities.
Senate Republicans say that while they would need to redirect $100 million of this bonding for transportation, Lamont still could make major reductions in non-transportation bonding and not impact their program.
The Senate GOP proposal also would restore a 2018 bipartisan plan to increase the share of sales tax receipts dedicated to the Special Transportation Fund. Lamont and the legislature’s Democratic majority had scaled back the transfer considerably in the most recent two-year state budget, adopted back in June.
Like Lamont, the Senate Republican plan also counts on securing low-interest financing through two federal programs that allow the loans to be repaid over a period as long as 27 years.
Fasano praised the Democratic governor for forcing an overdue debate on rebuilding Connecticut’s aging, overcrowded transportation system.
“I applaud the governor because he has done something no other governor has done,” Fasano said, adding Lamont developed a holistic and methodical plan. 
“He’s doing it the right way,” Fasano added. “We use his construction plan and figure out a way to pay for it” without tolls.
And while the $18 billion the GOP plan would invest in transportation upgrades by 2030 — $19 billion, Republicans say, if the most favorable federal rates could be obtained — doesn’t match the $21 billion Lamont proposed, it comes close.
But that comparison can be deceiving.
Transportation officials say about $15.6 billion is needed over the next decade just to keep infrastructure in good shape. Any strategic improvements — widening highways, adding rail cars, redesigning interchanges — would cost more.
 Lamont’s plan would invest $5.4 billion above the $15.6 billion threshold, while the GOP plan would only go $2.4 billion past it.
“We are not DOT experts,” Fasano said. “We don’t profess to be.”
But the Senate Republcian leader said the GOP plan still spares Connecticut motorists form paying tolls and makes a significant new investment in transportation.
Republicans also proposed assembling engineers, construction business representatives, transportation advocates and other professionals to ensure the most important projects are moving forward.
The GOP would reassemble the Transportation Strategy Board, a state panel that existed in the early 2000s. This team of experts would vet all transportation projects and offer assessments.
Senate Republicans also proposed creating a second strategy panel, with officials from Connecticut and New York, to provide similar oversight of all rail projects — particularly those with the commuter service linking Connecticut’s shoreline with New York City.
Selling the plan to Lamont … and to Wall Street
But to make it all work, Republicans have one more step to take.
The GOP also has to convince Lamont and Democratic lawmakers to gamble on using the reserves with the hope they could be restored before the next downturn hits.
At the same time, officials also would need to convince Wall Street credit rating agencies — whose reports determine whether Connecticut can borrow funds cheaply — that this makes good fiscal sense. The Lamont administration already is trying to gauge how Wall Street would weigh accelerating the payment of pension debt against exposure from a recession.
Taking $1.5 billion from a $2.5 billion rainy day fund still leaves a lot. 
But $1 billion doesn’t go as far as it used to.
When the last recession ended in 2010, annual tax receipts were $1.6 billion less than they were two years earlier, just before the downturn began.
And a national poll released Monday by CNBC found two-thirds of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. economy will enter another recession within the next year, while a monthly worldwide report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch finds money managers heartened by a pause in the U.S.-China trade war and optimistic of continued growth.
Republicans said investing reserves in the pension would make financial sense, even facing some fears of recession. Beside bolstering a fund short-changed almost every year between 1939 and 2010, it would produce a larger return.
Dollars in the budget reserve must be kept fairly liquid, and likely would earn little more than 2% interest per year, Republicans said. By comparison, the assumed rate of return on pension investments is an average of 6.9% per year.
More importantly, Senate Republicans noted, Lamont’s own projections say the reserve isn’t done growing.
Both the governor’s budget office and the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimate Connecticut will deposit $300 million more into the reserve next September once the audit of the 2019-20 fiscal year has ended.
And while Republican legislators wouldn’t predict what will happen with the nation’s economy a year from now, they noted that analysts project another $450 million will be added to Connecticut’s reserves by the fall of 2021.
But those are only projections and there are no guarantees Connecticut’s coffers will continue to grow.
Fasano added, though, that the legislature is better prepared to respond to the next recession than its 2008 counterpart did.
“Everything in life is a risk,” he said. “Nothing is 100 percent.”
But the 2008 General Assembly “refused to act quickly and cut spending” as signs of budget weakness grew, Fasano said.
In addition, the budget now includes stronger caps on spending and borrowing. It also features a “volatility adjustment” program that forces the state to save more whenever income tax receipts from capital gains exceed a certain threshold level.
“I think we are protected,” Fasano said.

Senate Republicans unveil no-tolls transportation plan
Susan Haigh
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Senate Republicans in Connecticut unveiled an alternative transportation plan on Thursday that doesn’t rely on tolls or tax increases but includes many of the same projects proposed by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.
The 10-year, nearly $18 billion FASTR CT initiative from the minority party in the state Senate comes a day after Lamont pitched his 10-year, $21.3 billion CT2030 plan to Senate Democrats, who liked many of the projects but not the fact it includes 14 tolls on bridges across the state.
“We believe this is the way to go for transportation,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, noting that Senate Republicans “simply cannot support tolls.”
It’s unclear whether the Senate GOP’s plan will ultimately lay the groundwork for a political compromise on an issue that has vexed the state of Connecticut for years. Senate President Martin Looney, D-New Haven, welcomed the plan and praised Fasano for trying to find a bipartisan solution.
“Connecticut succeeds best when both parties work together,” said Looney, adding how Senate Democrats were analyzing the proposal. But Lamont, who said he appreciated Fasano’s efforts to “partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments,” raised concerns about the funding arrangement.
Like Lamont’s plan, FASTR CT relies partly on low-cost borrowing from the federal government to help pay for road, bridge, rail, port and bus improvements. But instead of using toll money to help pay off those loans, like Lamont’s initiative, it banks on a complicated plan to financially stabilize the state’s dedicated transportation fund, which is facing insolvency.
The GOP proposal transfers a portion of the state’s budget reserve account, $1.5 billion, and uses that money to pay down state pension debt. While Looney appeared somewhat receptive to the idea, noting the state’s reserves are currently at a historically high level, Lamont called it a “risky proposition that requires serious evaluation.” House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, who supports tolls, said he also has concerns about “such a significant raid” on the reserve account.
Fasano contends that using surplus funds to pay down pension debt will free up enough cash in the state’s main spending account — the general fund — to cover the cost of fringe benefits for certain state workers that are currently paid through the transportation fund. After that and other changes, the fund would theoretically be financially strong enough to pay off the low-cost federal loans.

Toll opponents welcomed a plan that doesn’t rely on the fees on drivers. But they acknowledged the complex details of how to pay off the federal borrowing will still need to be hammered out by lawmakers and Lamont.
“We see this plan as a good step toward reaching a bipartisan solution that doesn’t levy another tax on the working people of Connecticut,” said Patrick Sasser, founder of No Tolls CT.
Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association, said his group welcomes the “very technical discussion” on how to pay for much-needed transportation improvements on the long term.
“We’re hoping that the entire legislature stays engaged at this level because this is a level that we’ve been waiting for, for a long time,” he said. “It’s very encouraging to see this discussion.”

Bad news for state economy if Lamont rolls over on tolls
The Day Editorial Board             
Ned Lamont unveiled his revamped CT2030 transportation plan to much fanfare last week. He lined up business support, because business leaders recognize that it is hard to grow a modern economy if people and goods cannot get around. He lined up labor support, pointing to the 26,000 construction jobs his plan would generate annually over the next decade.
Gone was the ambitious but unpopular proposal introduced in the last session to install 50 gantries across Connecticut highways to electronically collect tolls and generate $720 million annually to rebuild and modernize the state's woeful transportation infrastructure.
CT2030 reduces the proposed toll gantries to 14, their location tied to the bridge repairs and unclogging of bottle necks that their toll revenues would support. To ease the burden on state commuters, drivers using an EZ Pass transponder would be assessed no more than a single toll at each gantry in any 24-hour period. Gantries would be located at the entrances to the Gold Star Bridge, the northbound component of which needs major repair; and another in East Lyme, where a dangerous stretch of Interstate 95 needs redesign and reconstruction.
Metro-North would be expanded and improved, as would service to this area by Shoreline East.
All told, CT2030 would invest $15.6 billion to upgrade the existing infrastructure and $5.5 billion in transportation enhancements.
Lamont was expecting that fewer tolls would generate more support among his fellow Democrats in the legislature.
But on Thursday, with his drive towards building support for his revamped transportation plan just starting to pick up speed, Lamont faced a roadblock from the leaders of the state Senate. They are directing him to the nearest exit, at least when it comes to tolls.
In early afternoon, Senate Republicans issued a retread version of their transportation plan "that does not rely on tolls or new taxes."
Forget about rebuilding Connecticut's bridges, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano apparently wants to sell you one.
Republicans would invest $18 billion in transportation "by adopting smart fiscal policies, better managing state dollars and leveraging federal aid," added Sen. Henri Martin, the ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee in the prepared statement. It was not reported whether he was riding a unicorn.
The plan, as explained, would "leverage federal low interest loans," redirect bonding from other projects to transportation and tap budget reserves just as the state is starting to get on its fiscal feet.
By depending on borrowing and rejecting any use of tolls, the Republican plan would continue to place the burden for improving and maintaining the transportation system almost exclusively on state taxpayers. Using the tolling envisioned by Lamont, 38% of the revenue would have come from out-of-state drivers. It's the smarter move.
In a statement that soon followed, Fasano's Democratic counterpart, Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, signaled he was ready to work with Fasano on a no-toll solution. Looney has made it clear he fears a high political cost could be paid in the 2020 election if Democrats pushed through Lamont's tolls without any Republicans on board.
"We appreciate Senator Fasano's plan and his continued work to find a bipartisan solution to Connecticut's transportation crisis," read the Looney statement. "We agree that our Rainy Day Fund is currently at a historically high level ..."
Why make the hard decision of creating a steady and reliable revenue stream — tolls — when you can make the easy decision of spending a surplus? Who knows, maybe it will never rain again in Connecticut.
Tellingly, Looney never issued a statement about Lamont's CT2030 plan last week.
Another governor might react forcefully to the sham Republican proposal and the insurrection in his own party, but that's not the Lamont style, by golly.
"While I appreciate Senator Fasano's proposal to partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments, taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund is a risky proposition that requires serious evaluation," read the Lamont statement.
You think?
With a weak governor and Senate leadership unserious about fixing Connecticut's woeful transportation infrastructure, expect the state's economy to remain stuck in low gear.
The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Editorial Page Editor Paul Choiniere, Managing Editor Tim Cotter, Staff Writer Julia Bergman and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

Vineyard Wind CEO sees both New London and Bridgeport as viable wind hubs
Julia Bergman
New London — The CEO of Vineyard Wind, one of the companies vying to supply offshore wind power to Connecticut, said, by his estimate, 10 ports need to be developed up and down the Eastern Seaboard to support the industry.
And he sees both Bridgeport and New London as viable options.
States along the Eastern Seaboard have set goals of buying 25,000 megawatts of offshore wind power over the next 10 years, enough to power 12.5 million homes.
"That's a $100 billion investment opportunity," said Lars Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. "That's why we're here. It's a $100 billion investment that will go into the Atlantic Seaboard and of course we want to be part of that."
Pedersen asked to sit down with The Day's editorial board Thursday while in the area meeting with stakeholders.
Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Renewables, submitted several different projects, from 400 megawatts to up to 1,200 megawatts, to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to provide Connecticut electricity from offshore wind farms. A decision by DEEP is expected later this month.
Ørsted and Eversource, which are hoping to transform New London's port into a hub for the offshore wind industry, and Mayflower Wind, a joint venture of Shell New Energies and EDPR Renewables North America, also responded to the state's request for proposal seeking up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind power.
Ørsted and Eversource already are slated to provide Connecticut and Rhode Island a combined 700 megawatts from the Revolution Wind farm south of Martha's Vineyard. The companies have committed $57.5 million for upgrades to New London's port as part of their offshore wind project.
Vineyard Wind, which has two leases in waters south of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, wants to transform Barnum Landing, an underused part of Bridgeport Harbor, into a manufacturing and staging facility for the offshore wind industry, and later into a long-term hub for workers servicing the turbines, which have a life cycle of 25 to 30 years. Pedersen said an estimated 100 "people on our payroll" would be performing the maintenance work. He said his company would need to be awarded a contract for a minimum of 800 megawatts to make the proposed upgrades to Bridgeport.
Pedersen said his company was one of the first to "jump in large scale" to the burgeoning offshore wind industry in the U.S., recognizing that the Atlantic seaboard is primed for the opportunity, given strong and consistent winds at sea, relatively shallow water, a large contingent of people living along the coastline and states retiring their nuclear and fossil fuel plants and turning more to renewable energy.
While Vineyard Wind is in competition with Ørsted and Eversource on getting the contract with the state, Pedersen said both New London and Bridgeport could be developed into offshore wind hubs.
"The question is not either-or, it's Bridgeport, New London and then some," he said.
These projects take on two phases, Pederson said. The first is installing "everything you can't see," such as the underwater cables and the foundations, and the second involves installing the turbines. A staging area is needed for each phase.
"So just for one project, you actually need to find two port facilities," he said. "If you have multiple projects in parallel ... you simply need more facilities."

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