state budget

Governor Pushes For Bonding Bill to Release Aid to Towns and Cities

The money promised to towns and cities in the budget cannot be released until lawmakers agree on a bonding package.

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Gov. Ned Lamont is hoping to finally release funding promised to cities and towns through the passage of a bond bill.

Lamont wants a larger, full bonding package approved next week. That plan includes $1.5 billion for cities and towns as well as larger state projects.

At this time, it's unclear if that package will be approved by the March 6 date floated by the governor, but a smaller municipal aid package that gives money to towns and cities does look likely.

At a news conference Tuesday, Lamont said at the very least that aid should get approved by lawmakers so municipalities get the money they’ve been waiting for.

The $625 million will largely go to school construction, but it will also fund local projects and capital improvement programs.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and Connecticut Council of Small Towns applauded the agreement to get this package approved quickly, saying their members have projects that need to get done that are necessary from a public safety standpoint.

“There was a plan out there called prioritize progress. It would have put $700 million in transportation bonding into the bond bill. Prioritize over town aid, road, and other municipal needs,” Lamont explained. “They took that off the table. We're going to put additional money in for transportation, but not nearly to the same degree that was under that previous plan. That means we now know what the appetite is that we can provide for our cities.”

Senate Republican leader Len Fasano said the money should have been handed out in July and that it has been held hostage by the governor.

“There's no question the governor was using it as leverage to get the toll votes. That's long gone now we've trimmed down the package to just towns for their money. We should do that and then the rest of the bonding which is other things we can talk about and that can be discussed later,” Fasano said.

The smaller bond package looks like it will be approved by next week.

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