The legislature’s Transportation Committee held a hearing Feb. 27 on nine different proposals to create a constitutional lockbox for the state’s Special Transportation Fund.

The proposals include Senate resolutions SJ 5SJ 8 and SJ 30, and House resolutions HJ 7, HJ 38, HJ 40, HJ 41, HJ 52, and HJ 55.

Connecticut's deficient roadsThey are aimed at amending the state constitution to prevent the future diversion of monies from the transportation fund into the General Fund.

This constitutional safeguard has increasingly become a necessity for the state—particularly given our current struggling fiscal condition.

A safe, modernized transportation infrastructure is vital for the efficient flow of goods and services to and from Connecticut’s businesses.

Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure is in need of costly repairs and the sources of funding for maintenance have become increasingly unreliable.

The state's ability to address infrastructure deficiencies is further reduced by the diversion of dollars from the fund, which likely will finish this fiscal year with a $17.1 million deficit with a $46 million deficit projected for next fiscal year.

In a recent survey, Connecticut businesses overwhelmingly (74%) supported legislation that would prohibit the use of special transportation funds to cover general fund shortfalls.

While leaner government and fiscal self-restraint should be the easiest solutions, a constitutional amendment may be necessary to protect the fund.

Action now could help us avoid future fund shortfalls.

CBIA encourages the committee to act favorably on a resolution that creates a special transportation fund lockbox so that it may appear on a ballot for Connecticut voters as soon as possible.

Committee members also heard testimony from several speakers on a proposal to bring electronic tolls to Connecticut highways to fund road repairs and improvements. Most opposed it.

The committee is expected to decide this month whether to send the proposal to the General Assembly.

Connecticut eliminated highway tolls in 1983 after a tractor-trailer that lost its brakes crashed into a line of traffic at a Stratford toll booth, killing seven people.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede (860.480.1784) | @egjede