A letter Gov. M. Jodi Rell sent to lawmakers on Wednesday has caused a lot of concern over some suggestions for trimming the budget to pay for home heating assistance program for seniors and low-income families.
In a list of ways to cut $33 million from existing programs to pay for Low Income Home Heating Energy Assistance Program, Rell included cutting the Danbury, Waterbury and New Canaan branches of Metro-North.
On Monday, she said she will not cut those lines before leaving office in January, does not support cuts and will continue to “forcefully advocate for rail until I leave office.”
“I can understand the confusion and questions that people have so let me be quite clear: I do not and will not support cuts to the Metro-North branch lines – Danbury, Waterbury or New Canaan,” Rell said.
Rell included a list of options in a letter she wrote, responding to a call from some legislators for funding for the state's Low Income Home Heating Energy Assistance Program.
“The list of cuts was prepared by the Office of Policy and Management as a menu of options for the Legislature to consider as a way to fill a funding hole in the winter home heating assistance program for seniors and low-income families. In hindsight, I can see how inclusion of this item on the list sent the wrong message,” Rell said. “Let me reiterate that the suggested rail cuts are not cuts that I approve or will support.”
The Legislature must find funding for the home heating assistance program, she said.
“I am determined that no one will go without heat this season. As Governor, I stand ready to work with the Legislature,” Rell said.