The governor's Transportation Finance Panel held its first meeting this week to discuss funding Gov. Malloy’s 30-year transportation plan.
The panel includes experts in transportation, finance, and economic development:
- Cameron Staples (Chair), president and CEO, New England Association of Schools and Colleges; former co-chair of the legislature’s Finance Committee
- Beth Osborne, senior policy advisor, Transportation for America; former acting assistant secretary for transportation policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
- William Bonvillian, director, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Washington, D.C. Office
- Joan Carty, president and CEO, Housing Development Fund
- Bert Hunter, chief investment officer, Connecticut Green Bank
- Oz Griebel, president and CEO, MetroHartford Alliance
- Paul Timpanelli, president and CEO, Bridgeport Regional Business Council
- Stanley Mickus, director, marketing and public affairs, Cross Sound Ferry Services
- Emil Frankel, consultant on transportation policy; former commissioner, Connecticut Department of Transportation; former assistant secretary for transportation policy, U.S. Department of Transportation
The governor kicked off the meeting by saying that Connecticut needs a cohesive, coordinated, long-term strategy, not a piecemeal or partial approach.
He said the need is great, as congestion costs the state’s economy about $4.2 billion every year. Connecticut’s transportation needs are expensive, and the state is already paying a high price for years of noninvestment.
Commissioner James Redeker of the Department of Transportation, and Ben Barnes, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, followed by discussing the governor's infrastructure improvement plan as well as the existing sources of federal and state funding for transportation projects.
Some panel members were unclear on whether there were opportunities to change details of the governor’s plan, or if their charge was limited to coming up with ideas for the necessary $100 billion over the next 30 years.
If economic impact statements noted that certain investments were more prudent and have a greater economic return than others, they wondered, shouldn’t those be prioritized?
Presumably the group’s charge will be solidified in subsequent meetings.
Improving Connecticut’s transportation systems and infrastructures is critically important to job creators in the state. A growing economy depends on the quality and reliability of both.
The panel will meet again on May 18 and will hold a public hearing on June 23.