Gov. Ned Lamont was on the south lawn of the White House as President Joe Biden signed the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. But the governor says it’s not all free money.
“It’s worth remembering we have to put up 10 to 20% to put up our share so no ‘yippee, the feds have bailed us out,’” Lamont says.
Lamont says the feds haven’t exactly bailed Connecticut out, but the money helps. The state is also benefiting from rising gas prices, which means more gasoline taxes going to the state.
“We can do our share without tolls. We’ve been there, done that, that’s not happening,” Lamont says.
Two years ago Lamont pitched a plan to install highway tolls to help raise the money necessary to improve Connecticut's roads and bridges.
“So we’ve got increased revenues coming from gas fees, we’re going to have highway users coming on for the big tractor-trailer trucks, so we’re well positioned to be able to pay our fair share and make sure this infrastructure gets going,” he says.
House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora says the state should be having a conversation about where its share of the money comes from.
“I think we need to take a reset here. Everyone’s excited about the federal money coming in and all this revenue coming in, but the revenue coming in is because of inflation,” Candelora says.
“To just say we have a lot of revenue let’s spend it, I think we need to take a step back and say where is this revenue coming from and who is being hurt by it,” Candelora says.
Everyone who drives will be paying higher gas prices for the foreseeable future, according to AAA.
“Is there a way that we can accomplish additional transportation funding at the same time we’re providing tax relief to our residents?” Candelora says.
That’s likely to be a hot topic when lawmakers return in February to make adjustments to the two-year state budget.
“For the last 10 years our budgets have been built on some gimmicks now is an opportunity to take those gimmicks away,” he says.
But for the moment there’s no deficits on the horizon.
“Gasoline taxes are higher so we have more tax revenue coming in and that’s strengthening our transportation fund in a way that nobody could have anticipated,” Lamont says.