Making Connecticut’s biggest airport a bigger economic player for the state is the aim of two bills awaiting legislative approvals.

The proposals, introduced through the Commerce Committee, would establish an economic development zone around the airport (SB-107) and broaden the scope of Bradley’s board of directors (SB-109).

Increasing Bradley’s role as an economic engine for Connecticut and the region has been a major focus of the state’s business community for many years.

A landmark study in 1999 called the airport “potentially the most significant facility influencing Connecticut’s [economic] development … [and] how the state and the Hartford/Springfield metropolitan region connect to the North American continent and the world.”

The creation of the Bradley International Airport Board of Directors in 2001 was an important step in moving to a more business-like model for the airport. More steps still need to be taken for Bradley to meet its considerable economic potential. SB-107 and SB-109 are additional steps to move the airport towards greater economic competitiveness.

SB-109 would reconstitute the board of directors, broaden the board’s authority to hire managerial employees, approve significant contracts and to work with the State Contracting Standards Board to streamline competitive bidding for contractors, vendors, and professional and other services.

Currently, this bill is awaiting action in the Senate. SB-107 would establish a geographic area around Bradley in which municipalities could enter into agreements regarding fixed property assessments on applicable economic development investments for a period of years depending on the amount of investment.

The bill also contains provisions to help manufacturers and technology-based businesses located in within the zone.  The bill was introduced on the Senate floor on Thursday by Sen. Gary LeBeau (D-East Hartford) and refined through a bipartisan amendment.

The bill was then sent to the Finance Committee for its consideration before a final vote in the Senate. Businesses need to be able to move people, products and services more easily and cost-effectively. It's time to marshal our key transportation resources in a way that will fully support a growing economy.

CBIA encourages lawmakers to approve SB-107 and SB-109.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.

Filed Under: Transportation

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