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CT Construction Digest Monday November 18, 2019

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CT2030


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Anatomy of Lamont’s failure to win on tolls
Ken Dixon
It was near the beginning of the now-infamous, closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats when it became clear that Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan for 14 highway tolls was going to crash at the hands of his own political party.
The scene was Wednesday afternoon in the crowded third-floor Democratic caucus room of the ornate State Capitol, behind a pair of opaque glass doors and around a long table, with portraits of former Senate leaders on the walls.
The small room boiled over, with many among the 22-member caucus articulating long-simmering frustrations, both political and policy driven, with the first-term governor. Several senators were convinced they would lose re-election campaigns if they voted for tolls, even with an expected blue, anti-Trump wave next November.
Lamont’s latest pitch for tolls, and the revenue generated by out-of-state cars, had quickly degenerated into a gripe session.
The multi-millionaire Greenwich businessman, who prefers penny loafers and an open collar to power suits, had failed a major test of his power, at the hands of fellow Democrats, in the rough-and-tumble of the intraparty politics.
The jaws of Lamont and his team, including Ryan Drajewicz, his usually steely, know-it-all chief of staff, literally dropped, according to people in the room.
The signature legislation of Lamont’s first year in office, a 10-year, $21 billion infrastructure-renewal plan, including rebuilt bridges, wider highways and faster train service, was stalled on the tracks. While the meeting droned on for two hours, the damage was done early. At least one senator disrespected Lamont to his face.The next day Republican senators offered a new plan, based on very optimistic borrowing rates, for $18 billion in infrastructure projects without tolls.
The anatomy of the collapse of the toll-centric plan has a lot to do with Lamont’s inexperience in politics beyond the realm of affluent Greenwich, and his apparent inability to close a deal on a toll plan that a year ago, when he easily won his election, was going to charge trucks only for the use of state highways.
Amid concerns that courts could eventually rule against trucks-only, and the need for more revenue to tackle the state’s transit crisis, Lamont initially proposed about 50 toll gantries.
But as vocal opposition to tolls spawned fears in the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, the number of gantries was drastically reduced and finally cut to 14 in the proposal that Lamont rolled out earlier this month, and calls CT2030.
“We’re not giving up on a solution,” Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director, said Friday. “We’re also not going to give up on fiscal responsibility.”
Sources with knowledge of the scene in the Senate caucus, who asked not to be identified, said Lamont has failed to build relationships with lawmakers. In this particular case, he hasn’t held enough one-on-one discussions with individual legislators, a tried-and-true way to earn allies and possibly offer them benefits in exchange for support.
He has also offended many members of the General Assembly by holding up the annual legislative list of capital projects eligible for long-term bonding
Other say his privileged life and limited political experience beyond the Greenwich Board of Selectman and local finance board, might be hindering his ability to play political hardball.
“I think he was trying to do the right thing,” said Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group consumer-advocacy organization, who ran Lamont successful 2006 primary campaign against former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. Swan said he was perplexed by the apparent implosion of Lamont’s toll-centric plan. “It’s sort of amazing.”
Swan said with the wide-ranging support of the southwestern Connecticut business community for the massive investments needed to free the region from gridlock and antiquated train lines, a failure of tolls as a revenue source would underscore the need for slightly higher personal income taxes on the state’s wealthiest, including Lamont and his neighbors in affluent towns.
“Instead of highway user fees or increases in the sales tax or gas tax, an increase of less than a point on the top two tiers of income would still keep Connecticut below New York State,” Swan said. “Tolls are arguably the best way to help finance it, but the failure to address the policies could have a lasting impact on him and his administration. I hope he figures out over the next three years how to work more effectively with the legislature to drive a real progressive agenda.”

Gov. Ned Lamont’s $21B transportation plan would increase capacity on the state’s highways, but critics say that can lead to more gridlock

Gov. Ned Lamont is touting his sweeping $21 billion proposal to overhaul the state’s transportation system as a “10-year, responsibly-funded and financed vision of the future ... that Connecticut residents deserve.”But some critics say the plan — which allocates $14 billion to road and bridge improvements and $6.2 billion to railroad projects but just $450 million to enhancing bus service and earmarks even less for sidewalks and bicycles — falls far short.Lamont’s proposal, in their view, is reflective of a 20th-century mindset that placed a premium on speeding up highway travel, an approach they say will create more traffic tie-ups and lead to an increase in suburban sprawl and a spike in greenhouse gas emissions.“A highway-heavy proposal that focuses on road expansion ... is really a missed opportunity,” said Melissa Kaplan-Macey, vice president of state programs at the Regional Plan Association, a research and advocacy group devoted to sustainability and improving the quality of life in the tri-state area. “Highway projects will create more congestion in the long run if we aren’t managing demand.”Most of the public’s attention has focused on Lamont’s plan to pay for his ambitious infrastructure overhaul through a combination of federal loans and electronic tolls collected from motorists.Tolls, in particular, have been a flashpoint, drawing condemnation from Republicans in the legislature and rejected by some Democrats as well. Lamont’s plan needs approval from the legislature, and its fate grew murky last week after Senate Democrats essentially took tolls off the table as a way to pay for upgrades to the transportation system.Kaplan-Macey supports Lamont’s call for electronic tolling, which she views as a user fee. “When you travel by train, you don’t just walk on without paying for a ticket,” she said. “There’s this nonsense argument that highways should be free. You’re using a piece of infrastructure, and right now it’s free, but there are no free lunches.”But Lamont’s proposal, dubbed CT2030, would have an impact on Connecticut residents that transcends tolls, said Anthony Cherolis, coordinator of Transport Hartford, a group dedicated to increasing engagement on transportation that operates under the umbrella of the Center for Latino Progress.“A plan that includes interstate and state route expansion and capacity increases under the guise of addressing chokepoints will result in additional miles driven and pressure for continued development of Connecticut’s farms, forests and rural green spaces,” Cherolis said in an email. “Both of those outcomes will reduce air quality and increase greenhouse gas emissions. Any congestion reduction benefits of increased interstate lanes or state route intersection expansion will be temporary.”Max Reiss, a spokesman for Lamont, said the plan is “a living document” and was meant to spark discussion as well as lay out a vision. Lamont and his supporters also had to be mindful of the political realities of getting the proposal through the legislature, he said.“We’re not saying the plan is perfect, but it is fully funded, and it is responsibly funded,” Reiss said. “We want to get people home faster, and we want to get people to work faster."Gannon Long, a Hartford community activist and the assistant coordinator of Transport Hartford, said Lamont’s proposal is defined as much by what it lacks as by what it contains.“There’s no mention of bicycles at all,” Long said. “Despite [spending] $21 billion, you have zero investments in bike lanes, bike racks, any type of bike infrastructure.”The proposal also devotes scant attention to sidewalks, she said. “This clearly was not written by people who walk to work or bike for transportation or even take the bus," Long said.Lamont’s plan does contain a number of commuter rail upgrades, including more than $4 billion for new tracks, rail cars and other upgrades for the Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line. The infusion of funds seeks to address decades of deferred maintenance and make for a faster trip into New York City.“The improvements that we’re proposing to Metro-North have never been proposed before,” Reiss said. “They would be historic, and they would be transformative, and they would absolutely get people off the roads.”But some experts say the central provision in Lamont’s transportation overhaul — $14 billion in road and bridge repairs — could create more congestion even as it attempts to unsnarl existing bottlenecks. The plan calls for the widening of I-95 in Bridgeport, reconfiguring the I-91-I-691-Route 15 interchange in Meriden and relieving congestion on I-84 and I-91, among other projects.Transportation experts are increasingly recognizing that improving a road’s capacity often leads, counterintuitively, to more traffic, said Chris McCahill, deputy director at the State Smart Transportation Initiative, a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin and Smart Growth America that promotes environmentally sustainable transportation practices.“It varies from place to place, but often when you’re adding road capacity, you’re really just inducing more vehicle traffic,” said McCahill, who previously worked as a researcher at UConn.Some states are increasingly relying on a strategy known as travel demand management in addition to — or even instead of — expensive infrastructure projects to reduce congestion. The term is a broad one and encompasses a number of approaches, including congestion pricing and high-occupancy vehicle lanes, to encourage carpooling and mass transit.Critics say Lamont’s plan does not lay out such strategies. “Right now, there is no incentive to not drive in Connecticut, other than to be stuck in traffic, which really isn’t an incentive because there’s no alternative,” said Kaplan-Macey, the vice president at the Regional Plan Association. “We need to manage the choices people are making and encourage people to travel together.”Kaplan-Macey applauded Lamont’s decision to propose tolls, despite the political blowback. But overall, she said the plan does not “create a system that discourages people from driving by themselves in their cars, which is ultimately where we want to end up."Reiss, the governor’s spokesman, said the plan does not significantly expand the footprint of any of the state’s major highways. But it does lay out a vision for members for the business community and a motoring public, which has been clamoring for a solution to the state’s traffic headaches.“Part of this is public demand,” he said. “They’re demanding faster speeds.”Long, the Hartford community activist, said the plan has to answer a key question: “What kind of state do we want to have in 10 years? Do we want to have wide highways and worse congestion than we have now, or do we want to have a statewide bike network and mass transit that is faster than taking the highway?"Long, who has been working on an engagement program with youth in Hartford on the issue of transportation, said the time is right to think big.“We could have sidewalks that are safe and wide and promote community gathering and economic development," she said. "There’s lots of opportunity here.”

Truck advertising CT2030 outside the Capitol paid for by labor union
Marc E. Fitch         
Lawmakers and visitors to the Legislative Office Building throughout the week may have noticed a truck with a digital sign advertising Gov. Ned Lamont’s new transportation plan called CT2030. It’s been driving in circles outside the LOB since Lamont met with Democratic senators earlier in the week.
The truck, carrying Rhode Island license plates, was paid for by the Laborers’ New England Region Organizing Fund based out of Providence, according to Chad Brault who was driving the truck at the time.
Brault is the regional organizer for the Laborers’ International Union of North America, a 500,000 member union made up largely of construction and trade workers.
The Laborers’ International Union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO and a member of Move CT Forward, a coalition of construction associations and unions that have lobbied heavily on behalf of transportation and tolling plan put forward by both Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lamont.
Move CT Forward took out billboards along interstate highways advertising CT2030. However, following a press conference by Senate Republicans pitching their new transportation plan, Don Shubert, head of Move CT Forward, said “that’s not our truck outside.”
Sal Luciano, president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, is also supporter of Lamont’s CT2030 plan, noting that the governor assured him the $21 billion in infrastructure projects would be completed using project labor agreements that typically guarantee the work will be done by union contractors.
With a potential $21 billion in projects on the line, construction associations and unions have been vocal in their support of the transportation plans put forward by both Gov. Dannel Malloy and Lamont.
LiUNA has faced some difficulties as of late. Their multi-employer pension plan is underfunded and has resulted in workers only receiving 47 percent of their benefit if they cash out early, according to a report in The Star.
Lamont’s new transportation plan, which leveraged toll money collected at 14 gantries at key locations around the state to pay for federal loans, received a chilly reception by Senate Democrats who backed off earlier support for tolling the state’s highways.
Senate Republicans pitched their own plan on Thursday which would shore up some of Connecticut’s pension debt using the Rainy Day Fund and use the savings to leverage the same federal loans outlined in Lamont’s plan.
Move CT Forward and other construction associations and unions say there has been little work in Connecticut in recent years and hope that a transportation initiative will bring new work for their members.

On tolls plan, local officials torn between tax burden and infrastructure needs
Kimberly Drelich
While local and state officials stress the need for transportation infrastructure improvements, they also have concerns and questions about the governor's plan for tolls.
While some support tolls to fund improvements to the state's highways and bridges, others want more details on the plan and some are worried about the potential clogging of local roads and financial impact to residents.
Gov. Ned Lamont this month unveiled CT2030, his $21 billion transportation plan for 10 years' worth of improvements to Connecticut's highways, airports, ports and public transportation system.
The proposal calls for funding 14 infrastructure projects — including the rehabilitation of the northbound span of the Gold Star Memorial Bridge between New London and Groton and improvements to the Interstate 95 Exit 74 interchange with Route 161 in East Lyme — through revenue from new overhead electronic toll gantries.
"Rather than delay construction and burden CT taxpayers with the total cost of improvements plus interest, fourteen CT 2030 projects will be funded by the implementation of a new and modest user fee beginning in 2023," the plan states.
It also calls for directing 5 percent of the revenue generated from each tolling gantry to the host municipality.
The base fares for the tolls would range from 50 cents to $1 for cars; $1.25 to $2.50 for medium-size trucks; and $3.50 to $7 for heavy trucks. Connecticut residents would get a 20 percent discount if they have a transponder, or electronic device affixed to a vehicle that automatically collects the toll fees.
Vehicles with a transponder would not "pay more than one round-trip user fee per gantry" within a single day, the proposal states.
Vehicles that don't have a transponder would be charged 25 percent to 50 percent more than the base rate due to the cost of mailing the bill, according to the proposal.
The toll for the $300 million to $415 million Gold Star Bridge project would have a base fare of $1 for cars, or 80 cents for Connecticut cars with an E-Z Pass, which receive a 20 percent discount off all base fares. Heavy trucks would pay $7. The revenue directed locally would be $1,081,185.
One gantry would be located before the northbound side of the bridge, and another placed before the southbound side, according to Kevin Nursick, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. Repairs to the southbound span have been completed, he said, while work on the northbound side will begin next year. The work, which will strengthen the superstructure and replace the deck, will be done in three phases.
The money generated by the tolls would be used to pay back the federal loans taken out for the project, he said.
The toll associated with the $140 million to $220 million East Lyme project would have a base fare of 75 cents, or 60 cents for Connecticut E-Z pass cars, and cost heavy trucks $5.25. This project is scheduled to begin in 2022. A projected $1,310,424 would be allocated to East Lyme annually.
Nursick said that without another funding source, such as tolls, there's no guarantee that this project would go forward.
Support and opposition
Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, said Senate Democrats met for more than two hours with the governor on Wednesday. She said they like the idea of doing the projects that need to get done, but want to be sure they are providing the correct funding to afford those projects.
"We support the plan, and the financing is yet to be decided," Osten said.
Sen. Paul Formica, R-East Lyme, said he agrees with the governor that transportation is a key issue for residents and businesses in Connecticut and needs to be addressed in a bipartisan manner. He said he liked that the governor's latest plan moved in the right direction to reduce the overall number of proposed toll gantries to 14, and that the governor is open to discussions.
"I think that’s encouraging. We remain opposed to any tolling but again we understand we have to find a solution, so we’re happy to listen and have these discussions," Formica said. He said Wednesday the Republican Caucus is working with the governor to have further discussions after being briefed on his proposal.
Senate Republicans on Thursday released a no-tolls alternative that would transfer money from the Budget Reserve Fund toward unfunded pension liabilities when the fund exceeds 5 percent of General Fund appropriations, resulting in savings that assist the Special Transportation Fund. It would re-establish the Transportation Strategy Board to vet all projects, and utilize federal borrowing programs for lower interest rates.
The plan, called Fiscal Accountability & Sustainable Transportation Reform CT (FASTR CT), would invest $18 billion in transportation infrastructure between now and 2030.
Senate Republicans say they are offering the alternative because the people of Connecticut already have been taxed enough, and given the state's history, they have "serious concerns about trusting government to manage a new revenue source."
Lamont responded in a statement by saying that while he appreciates the "proposal to partially fund much-needed infrastructure investments, taking money out of the Rainy Day Fund is a risky proposition that requires serious evaluation."
Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, in a statement Thursday called the Senate Republicans' alternative a "thoughtful, long-term solution which shows a path forward to adopt responsible fiscal policies and establish accountability without asking for more from overburdened taxpayers."
Somers had said by phone Wednesday that she has overwhelmingly heard from people in her district who oppose tolls.
"People are especially irate that there would be a toll on the Gold Star Bridge," Somers said. She has heard concerns from people who already find the bridge challenging to cross and from ambulance companies that have to use the span during emergencies.
"Tolls hurt the middle class and the lower middle class the most," Somers added and pointed out that her district still is struggling to recover from the recession.
Rep. Christine Conley, D-Groton, raised concerns over the impact of the governor's plan on residents.
"I have serious concerns with any transportation plan that makes it more expensive for Groton residents to access essential services, like medical care, in New London or other parts of the state," Conley said in a statement. "The Republicans have announced that they are going to propose a plan that does not have any tolls. I look forward to reviewing that plan. There is no doubt that the Gold Star Bridge needs to be replaced at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. Once everything is on the table, I will ask the same question of all the plans — is it a cost effective and fair way to pay for replacing the Gold Star Bridge?"
State Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, said he thought the latest plan was an improvement compared to the last one. He said features including the small cost to go over the bridge, discounted rate for residents, transparency in regard to funding and revenue sharing with host municipalities addressed some of his constituents' concerns.
He said he hopes to hold a town hall-style meeting in New London, in which he would invite other legislators and the Lamont administration, so his constituents could hear more about the proposal and ask questions.
"I really want to hear from my constituents," he said.
He said about 125 people, who support implementing tolls so the state can make necessary infrastructure improvements, reached out to him to say they were glad to see some of the small changes in the plan. About 20 to 30 people who opposed tolls said that while the plan is "a start," they are not considering it a win.
Though Groton and New London share the Gold Star Bridge, Nolan said he hoped that each could receive 5 percent of the revenue. "It's still a work in progress," he said. "I'm hoping that we don't have to share the 5 percent."
State Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme, said she was pleased to see for the first time a detailed proposal on what projects would be addressed and where the money would go. She also liked that the governor investigated the possibility of low-interest federal loans. That said, she still had a lot of questions and misgivings about the plan.
One of those questions is what happens when the revenue projections underperform, for example when people decide to avoid the tolls or when the state gets fewer out-of-state drivers, and what would happen to the revenue share promised to municipalities?
She pointed out that, despite a Democratic majority in Connecticut's government, "I think the fact that it (tolls) isn’t the law of the land is because legislators on both sides have real misgivings about putting another tax on the citizens of Connecticut."
Local officials weigh in
New London Mayor Michael Passero has publicly supported tolling and stressed that the state has to find a sustainable revenue source to pay for critical infrastructure needs, including the rehabilitation of the Gold Star's northbound span.
He said the bridge is in serious need of the work and it will be a large and important construction project, both employment-wise and investment-wise.
"This bridge is so crucial to the economy in southeast Connecticut that it needs this investment critically," Passero said. "The project will be an economic driver, and, if the tolls are the sustainable revenue source to get this work done, then I'll accept this."
He added that he believes the proposal has enough provisions that will minimize the economic effects on the people living in the area that use it daily or multiple times a day.
City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick said he's had the opportunity to review the plan and understands the state needs to conduct repairs to bridges and other infrastructure.
"We have postponed these repairs or otherwise diverted the gas tax revenue for the repairs," Hedrick said. "The repairs must be completed to the Gold Star Bridge, or it may become impassable. It is a critical conduit across the Thames River. I support the repairing of the Gold Star Bridge."
But he said he is concerned about the tolls' potential negative impact on moderate- to low-income residents and employees. He said to get a discount, people need to have a transponder, which in turn must be linked to an account or credit card.
"Many moderate- to low-income employees cannot get a credit card and therefore they will be subject not only to the full cost of the gantry fee, but they will also pay for every time they cross the gantry," Hedrick said.
Town Mayor Patrice Granatosky said by email that, like others, she has concerns with the governor's latest plan. However, she thinks "we all agree that we want our infrastructure to be properly maintained."
"The Gold Star Bridge is a vital link in Southeastern Connecticut and as such, must be kept in good repair," she added. "Bridge travel is a necessity for many Groton residents for work and (health care) needs. We have no practical alternative and therefore I have concerns for the ability of Groton residents to meet their needs in an efficient and affordable manner."
East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson said the proposed toll in East Lyme would put additional pressure on the small town's roads. "I'm very concerned about our town being able to take on traffic coming off the highway throughout the year," he said.
Nickerson said that while the town's share of revenue from the tolls would help with additional police presence, it wouldn't unclog the road — and he was concerned about the uncertainty of actually receiving that money.
"The state has a long, long history of promising towns money and then taking it back," he said. "There would need to be a guarantee, not just a handshake, that this money would last as long as the tolls are up."

Lack of support for tolls leaves governor searching for alternative revenue sources
PAUL HUGHES
HARTFORD – With highway tolls stuck, Gov. Ned Lamont must now find some other way to finance transportation spending that a majority of state legislators will accept.
There is no other option since Lamont’s personal pitch to Senate Democrats Wednesday to support 14 bridge and highway tolls fell short. The first-term Democrat had previously proposed a much wider reaching 50 toll plan.
After five months work, the Lamont administration’s new 10-year, $21.3 billion master financing plan was headed back to the drawing board just six days after its big unveiling. After two tries, Lamont was unable to sell the legislature’s Democratic majority on tolls.
Senate Republicans on the following day released a 10-year, $18 million counterproposal to Lamont’s CT2030 plan without tolls, and House Republicans also announced Thursday that the caucus was preparing a toll-free alternative.
The bipartisan rejection of CT2030 has effectively removed tolls from the discussion on how to pay for transportation spending.
“I certainly think we need to commit to a highway transportation plan. It is clear now tolls are not the way,” said Senate President Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. “It is essential for us to come up with a non-tolls alternative, and make it work.”
ONE PROMISING POSSIBILITY is making use of low-interest federal loans to finance bridge, highway, rail and transit projects.
The financing through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program is attractive because interest rates are lower than traditional bond markets and repayment terms are flexible. The state government has not previously applied for these infrastructure loans.
The Lamont administration budgeted $4.7 billion in TIFIA and RRIF financing in CT2030. The Senate Republicans included the same amount in their plan, dubbed FASTR CT for Fiscal Accountability & Sustainable Transportation Reform CT.
This TIFIA and RRIF funding is not guaranteed, and if the state government is turned down, or gets significantly less than $4.7 billion that will be problematic. It represents more than one-quarter of the $18 billion total for FASTR CT.
Also, the federal government requires a reliable source of revenue for repayment.
Lamont proposed to pledge toll revenue. CT2030 anticipated an average of $320 million a year. The Senate Republicans proposed a more complicated repayment scheme involving several revenue streams.
The governor’s office, Democrats and Republicans are confident that Connecticut will be able to tap TIFIA and RRIF financing based on representations from the Build America Bureau of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Earlier this year, Senate Minority Leader Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, and Ryan Drajewicz, Lamont’s chief of staff, met with officials of the Build America Bureau in Washington, D.C. Federal officials also came to Connecticut to brief top legislators in September.
“They’ve got a ton a money, a ton of money already in the kitty that they are waiting to loan. They are encouraging people to apply for this TIFIA money,” Fasano said.
“We have a good level of optimism that we could be successful in our loan applications for RRIF and TIFIA based on the long discussions we have had with the Build America Bureau,” said Max Reiss, the governor’s communication director.
CT2030 and FASTR CT assume the state will receive approximately $1.5 billion in TIFIA funding and $3.2 billion in RRIF funding.
If the state gets none of TIFIA and RRIF money, or less than $4.7 billion anticipated in CT2030 and FASTR CT anticipated, Fasano said the state will have to adjust its transportation spending plan.
“We’d have to adapt. We’d have to figure out something else,” he said.
THE RELUCTANCE of House and Senate Democrats to back Lamont on tolls is a sore point for the governor’s office. It is also not lost on the Lamont administration that only the two majority caucuses have not proposed a transportation funding plan.
“I think we have taken an approach that shows that we’ve really tried to leave no stone unturned, and I think that any other effort would be appreciated by the governor,” Reiss said.
House and Senate Democrats seem unlikely to present funding plans. Looney was clear that Senate Democrats are expecting on Lamont to come back first with a revamped transportation funding plan without tolls.
“We’re waiting, frankly, to hear from the governor about his revised, non-toll plan,” he said.
Looney proposed Democrats and Lamont work out a joint plan, and then negotiate a final agreement with Republicans.
“We hope to work collaboratively with the administration to come out with a Democratic proposal that we can then hope to merge into a bipartisan proposal,” he said.
IN THE MEANTIME, House and Senate Democrats should give some thought to FASTR CT, said Sen. Henri Martin, R-Bristol, the ranking Senate Republican on the Transportation Committee.
“I’d like to think they may see the information that is presented in this plan, and recognize those are very prudent proposals that are being made here. It covers a lot,” he said.
Looney said he sees proposals in FASTR CT that could serve as the basis of bipartisan compromise.
Reiss said the governor’s office is continuing to review FASTR CT, including its assumptions, funding mechanisms, and scope.
“We’re trying to figure out what it does, what it does fund and what it doesn’t fund,” he said.

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