Gov. Dannel Malloy is introducing two pieces of legislation this session that he says will facilitate and streamline the design and construction of municipal road and bridge projects by reducing red tape and allowing municipal governments to focus their federal transportation funding on capital investments rather than administrative costs.
The governor announced the details of the legislation at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST), which was attended by municipal leaders from throughout the state.
The first proposal creates a Local Transportation Capital Program, which will make funding available to municipalities more quickly by removing a step in the current process that provides funding from the federal Department of Transportation (DOT), then to the state Department of Transportation, and then to the towns and cities.
Under Mr. Malloy’s proposal, the state will provide funding directly to local governments and then seek reimbursement from the federal DOT.
“Establishing this program will streamline the flow of capital transportation funding to local governments because federal funds are typically more difficult to use and administer than state funds and come with more strings attached,” Mr. Malloy explained. “This was particularly apparent with the federal stimulus program, in which a significant percentage of the funding was directed to local governments and many struggled with the constraints and burdensome regulations that came along with the federal dollars.”
While the state DOT is organized to carry out federal programs, many local governments are not. The governor said his proposal will facilitate the state DOT’s oversight role and also make it easier for local governments to use federal funding, giving them the ability to focus these resources more on capital improvements and less on administration.
The second proposal will further fund, update and improve the current Local Bridge Program to encourage participation and assist municipalities in reducing the number of deficient municipal bridges. It will allocate $15 million of state capital funding into the program, streamline administrative requirements and extend the deadline for submitting applications.
“Revitalizing this program will allow towns and cities to fund vital rehabilitation projects on bridges that are in need of repair and upkeep,” Mr. Malloy said.
The governor’s proposals are among the legislative priorities enumerated this year by the legislative task force of the South Western Regional Planning Agency’s Metropolitan Planning Organization (SWRPA/MPO), which is co-chaired by Ms. Weinstein.
The legislation will be included in the governor’s package of legislative proposals that will be unveiled on Feb. 6.