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CT Construction Digest Tuesday November 19, 2019



 
Governor Lamont has proposed a 10-year transportation plan. Visit CT2030 

Senate Republicans have proposed a 10-year transportation plan as well.  Visit Fastr CT

The plans deliver the same projects over the next 10 years!  The plans would provide a faster commute, safer travel, jobs, and economic activity!
The Senate Democratic Caucus will not support Governor Lamont’s plan because they are nervous about voting for tolls.
The Senate Democrats are “taking a look” at the Senate Republican Plan.
The Senate Democrats have no plan!
Call the Senate Democratic Leadership!
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney 860-240-0375
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff 860-240-0414
Ask them…since they oppose Governor Lamont’s and "taking a look" at the Republican Plan…
What is their plan to fix Connecticut’s failing transportation systems?

CBIA urges bipartisan action on transportation funding
Paul Hughs
HARTFORD — The state’s largest business group is urging bipartisan cooperation on transportation funding after Gov. Ned Lamont’s latest tolling plan flopped.
The Connecticut Business & Industry Association on Monday publicly appealed to the Democratic governor and the state legislature’s Democratic majority and Republican minority to work out a financing plan.
“The legislature and the administration must seek compromise and unite behind a funding plan that will provide the resources necessary to rebuild and modernize our infrastructure to move Connecticut’s economy forward, while ensuring all transportation dollars are safeguarded and spent in an efficient, cost-effective manner,” CBIA President and CEO Joe Brennan said in a statement. “It is critical that the legislature show a sense of urgency and act now to pass a comprehensive transportation infrastructure plan.”
Lamont proposed a 10-year, $21.3 billion transportation funding plan on Nov. 7 that included a scaled down tolling component after bipartisan opposition in the legislature blocked a previously recommended 50-toll plan.
The governor’s CT2030 initiative counts on tolls to repay low-interest loans from the federal government to fund 14 bridge and highway improvement projects. The tolls are expected to raise an average of $320 million annually.
Lamont is having to regroup a second time after a presentation to Senate Democrats last Wednesday made clear that even 14 tolls were too many to get through the General Assembly. Democrats have a 22-14 Senate majority and a 91-60 House majority.
Senate Republicans issued a 10-year, $18 billion counterproposal last Thursday that shunned tolls, and House Republicans also announced that the caucus would be presenting an alternative plan without tolls, too.
There is an emerging consensus on establishing a 10-year construction timetable and using the project list in the CT2030 plan, including the 14 bridge and highway projects that Lamont proposed to use tolls to finance.
There is also general agreement to seek low-interest federal loans available through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing program.
The Senate Republicans’s FASTR CT plan and CT2030 both anticipated receiving $4.7 billion in TIFIA and RRIF financing.
“All publicized plans recognize that the essential elements of the governor’s proposal, from utilizing federal low-interest loans to the identified infrastructure projects, are good ideas,” Brennan said. “There are differences in the proposed funding mechanisms, but we now have constructive ideas on the table.”


Dan Haar: The CT Tolls in ‘21 campaign starts now
I got a call Friday from an irate Democrat, an elected official upset over the way the transportation rollout went down. It prompted me to look ahead to 2021.This officeholder, who’s in a big job, is pro-tolls, not no-tolls. He or she wasn’t mad at Gov. Ned Lamont or the Republicans or the tenacious activists who helped kill Lamont’s $320 million plan to toll 14 bridges and highway interchanges. No, this elected Democrat vented squarely at Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, and Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven — majority leader and president pro-tem of the state Senate, respectively. They failed to shepherd enough support to pull Lamont’s plan to victory, the officeholder huffed, thus failing a state that counted on them to do the right thing. What good was the 2018 Democratic tidal wave in the Senate, if they were just going to play dead instead of enacting a modest, common-sense idea?This angry Democrat isn’t alone. Contrary to popular belief, a silent majority in the state — drowned out by opponents — does want tolls if the money is spent the right way.And the time for that to happen is 2021. Let this moment mark the start of the Tolls 2021 movement. Slogan: “Other states pay, we save.”It didn’t happen in 2019 for reasons we’ve gone over. Louder opponents than supporters, Lamont’s lack of experience dealing with the legislature, no clear plan for how to spend the money until the fall, too many first-term senators worried about keeping their seats.It’s not going to happen in 2020 for one simple reason: It’s a short, 4-month General Assembly session in an election year, not the time to devise a complex financing scheme that divides the state. As one lawmaker said to me, “In election years people say ‘Let’s do no harm.’”“I don’t see anything happening for tolls in 2020,” said Sen. Carlo Leone, D-Stamford, the pro-tolls co-chairman of the General Assembly’s transportation committee. Ah, but 2021? That legislative session starts in less than 14 months. The timing could be exquisite politically and economically — if we start now, and if we move toward a plan that really  More on that in a minute; first, here’s why CT rolls with tolls in ’21:Lamont will be a third-year governor - either frustrated and leaning against a re-election bid in 2022, or in the sweet spot of his stride. Either way, he’ll be more in position to lead the way on tolls than he is now. You can say 2019 was the right moment with a newly elected governor and strong majorities in the House and Senate. But Lamont had campaigned against broad tolling and he made some gaffes. He choked off bonding for town projects and his budget shortchanged the transportation fund by $158 million from the car sales tax — a gift to opponents who said Lamont couldn’t be trusted with tolls.
Other states in the northeast don’t far that well, either. New York, for example, spends $104 per mile, and 46 percent of roads are in “good” condition. It’s ranked number 20.
Massachusetts comes in at number 15 — that state also spends $104 per mile, but only 29 percent of its roads are in “good” condition.
Rhode Island, though, has the fourth worst roads in the state, according to ConsumerAffairs. That state’s $70 per mile results in 11 percent of roads in “good” condition.

Norwich officials to discuss Sherman Street bridge replacement Tuesday
Claire Bessette           
Norwich — A $13 million project to replace the two Sherman Street bridges over the Yantic River and adjacent former canal isn’t slated for construction until 2022, but city Public Works Department officials will explain the project at a public forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.
The project calls for replacing both nearly 65-year-old bridges, realigning the intersection with Asylum Street and relocating the one sidewalk over the bridge to the south side rather than the north side of the road.
The project is being funded with 80 percent federal dollars, 10 percent state money and a 10 percent city match, Public Works Director Patrick McLaughlin said.
The bridge, known locally as the Canada Bridge, has deteriorated over the years as the city, state and federal transportation officials worked on various designs for the bridge. One earlier plan was rejected that would have moved the bridge more significantly to the north.
Temporary repairs have been made to the pavement and sidewalk, and barriers have been erected on the south side to shift vehicles and pedestrians away from the worst section of the bridge, Norwich city engineer Brian Long said.
In 2015, the Public Works Department downgraded the weight limit over the canal bridge from 20 tons to 10 tons — allowing short-box delivery trucks, snowplows and school buses, but not 18-wheeler trucks or large, heavy cranes.
At Tuesday’s meeting, to be held in Council Chambers at City Hall, city officials will give an overview of the project and the time schedule for residents, business owners, commuters and the general public.
Long said shifting the Sherman Street-Asylum Street junction slightly would eliminate a sharp right turn that travelers now must make from Sherman Street entering Asylum Street.
Shifting the sidewalk to the south side of the bridge “makes more sense,” he said. Crosswalks will be painted on Sherman Street at the Asylum Street intersection and on Sherman Street on the opposite end of the bridges near the entrance to the Upper Falls Heritage Park.
Construction is not expected to start until spring of 2022, but additional interim repairs to the crumbling sidewalk will be done shortly, Long said.

Unemployment rate flat as CT sheds 1,500 jobs in Oct.
Matt Pilon
Connecticut’s unemployment rate remained at 3.6 percent in October as the state lost 1,500 net jobs, state labor officials said Monday.
The private sector shed 1,000 jobs during the recent month, with the government sector (which also includes tribal casinos) losing 500.
It was the first monthly job loss since June, noted state Department of Labor research director Andy Condon.
The “trade, transportation and utilities” supersector lost 1,000 net jobs on its own. Meanwhile, the largest gainer in October was “construction and mining,” which added 700 net jobs.
That would almost wipe out the impact of a previous downward revision, by 1,200 jobs, for August.
Over the past year, employment in Connecticut is up by 4,800 jobs, or 0.3 percent.
The state is 116 months into its job recovery from the 2008-2010 recession, and employment totals remain below their pre-recession level by 18,300 jobs.
The private sector has recovered nearly 106 percent of the 112,000 jobs it lost during the downturn, but government jobs -- down by 1,700 over the past year, continue to slow Connecticut’s full recovery.

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