In a recent opinion piece, lawmakers were blamed for the deep budget cuts impacting transportation and increasing Metro-North fares [Cameron: Don’t blame Malloy for the fare hikes].
That blame is half misplaced.
You see, the op-ed wrongly grouped Democrat and Republican lawmakers together, and failed to recognize the stark differences in our approaches to improving transportation in Connecticut.
The Democrats sat back and decimated our state’s Special Transportation Fund for years by taking transportation money to balance their ill-conceived budgets. The Republicans want to make transportation a priority. Republicans in Connecticut have proposed real plans to improve transportation by prioritizing the way we spend current funds, without the need for new revenue sources.
While the Democrat governor proposed an unrealistic pie-in-the-sky transportation plan without any idea of how he would actually pay for it, Republicans proposed a serious plan that would dedicate over $70 billion to transportation over the next 30 years without new taxes or tolls.
The Republican plan is not political rhetoric, but rather is a plan of action. Our “Prioritize Progress” transportation funding plan rethinks how our state bonds for development and invests in our infrastructure. You can see it for yourself here.
The blame for Connecticut’s significant transportation problems falls squarely on the Democrats who have had complete unfettered control of the legislature for years. They are the ones who passed budgets that bled the Special Transportation Fund and allowed transportation to fall to the wayside.
Even as they passed a legislative lockbox to supposedly protect transportation dollars, they simultaneously voted for a budget that swiped transportation money right out from under us! The Democrats continue with their lip service, but their inaction and lack of a structured vision has compounded Connecticut’s transit problems.
So the question is: “How can we improve transportation in our state?”
We as Republicans have focused on achievable ideas that can solve our state’s problems without looking for new ways to tax people. But as the minority party in the state legislature, we have not had the opportunity to bring our ideas to fruition.
To make transportation a priority and really make a difference, we need serious change in the legislature to allow Republicans to advance our plan. And that must begin with a change in leadership by making Republicans the majority in the House and Senate. That is the real answer.
State Sen. Toni Boucher represents the 26th Senate District.