Updated, 6:48 p.m.: Walk Bridge. Updated, 5:54 p.m.: PDF added, additional information.
NORWALK, Conn. – The Merritt Parkway/Route 7 interchange is on a list of state projects that have been postponed indefinitely by Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Also put on the shelf is the proposed Merrit 7 train station upgrade and repairs to the Stroffolino Bridge.
Malloy on Wednesday released a list of Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) projects, totaling $4.3 billion, that have been postponed indefinitely until new revenue is appropriated for the Special Transportation Fund (STF), which finances ConnDOT.
New Haven railroad line projects are put on hold, but little specific information is offered. They include a real time audio/visual system scheduled for 2020 and a $6.5 million customer service initiative this year.
There’s also statewide “Bridge Projects from Overprogramming in Current or Prior Years (funded over 20,21,22),” a $210 million item.
“Last month, Governor Malloy reiterated and increased his warnings on the solvency of the fund following the release of a report showing that without prompt action, the STF will be in deficit by fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018,” a press release said.
A December report from the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) warned that ConnDOT projects could be put on hold, pronouncing that $4.3 billion would be cut under a “status quo” scenario. Projects with existing contracts would go forward, including the Walk Bridge reconstruction and all its related projects, OPM said.
Mayor Harry Rilling confirmed Wednesday evening that Malloy is not putting the Walk Bridge on hold.
“Hundreds of projects across the state, such as critical improvements to the I-91/Route 15 interchange on the Charter Oak Bridge, the replacement of the Waterbury Mixmaster, and the widening of I-95 from Bridgeport to Stamford, are postponed indefinitely, or until resources are identified to allow projects to continue. Even routine highway maintenance and transportation aid to cities and towns are seriously jeopardized,” the Wednesday release said. “…The Governor made clear that his administration will announce detailed proposals this month that, if adopted by the General Assembly, would bring the projects back online.”
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy said in the release. “If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be. I want to be very clear – this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
“This isn’t a problem that can be punted until future years. Connecticut needs immediate action,” ConnDOT Commissioner James Redeker said in the release. “As Governor Malloy noted last month, the solvency of the Special Transportation Fund is in doubt without new revenues. In real terms, that means we need to postpone indefinitely important projects today.”
“The cupboard is bare. Without a dedicated, stable stream of revenue to the Special Transportation Fund, our infrastructure will continue to rot and decay,” State Rep. Tony Guerrera, co-chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, said in the release. “We sit at the precipice of a transportation tragedy that can be avoided by investing in roads and bridges. We must act immediately in the 2018 legislative session and institute tolls or another revenue stream to avert the oncoming crisis.”