December 10, 2012

Redeker: ConnDOT sees fund roadblock in '14

Photo/Pablo Robles
Photo/Pablo Robles
Connecticut's ability to finance road projects is under pressure.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is so overleveraged by its current rail and roadway projects and budget, it will lose the ability to borrow money for new projects by 2014, said ConnDOT Commissioner James Redeker during a transit forum on Monday.

Redeker said ConnDOT is slated to lose its bonding ability in the next two years because the agency simply does not have enough money left in its budget to take on new debt service.

Bonding is important in helping ConnDOT undertake new projects such as replacing roads and bridges or perform major work such as the reconstruction of the Interstate 84 viaduct in Hartford.

More than half of ConnDOT's current budget is taken up by operational responsibilities, such as paying staff, Redeker said. In the operations' $552 million budget, the greatest expense is transit services, which include buses and trains.

The capital portion of ConnDOT's last year budget -- which covers just building projects -- was $946 million.

Redeker made his remarks during a forum looking at 21st-century transportation needs and funding at the State Capitol in Hartford put on by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment. The forum focused on advocating for more federal transportation money to help the state repair its infrastructure and plan for future needs, such as high-speed rail.

"The future of Connecticut's economy is directly tied to adequate if not increase levels of funding," Redeker said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also attended the forum, where he announced the creation of a new interagency workgroup to address Connecticut's transit-oriented development needs.

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