Senate Majority Leader Duff: “Businesses need a transportation infrastructure that provides reliability and consistency in order to grow and succeed.”
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) today submitted the following testimony to the Transportation Committee in support of an amendment to the State Constitution establishing a lockbox for transportation funds:
Senator Leone, Senator Boucher, Representative Guerrera, Representative Carney, and distinguished members of the Transportation Committee, I am submitting testimony in support of S.J. No. 5, Resolution Proposing an Amendment to the State Constitution Regarding the Special Transportation Fund. Thank you to the committee for holding a public hearing regarding this resolution.
As I know you are all aware, the General Assembly has been considering the creation of a transportation lockbox with a constitutional amendment for several years. I join with many of my colleagues in believing that creating such a lockbox is in the best interest of the fiscal health of Connecticut. A strong, modernized infrastructure is central to a thriving economy. When I speak with business leaders in Norwalk and Darien in my district and with others across the state, they repeatedly stress the need for an upgraded transportation system. Businesses need a transportation infrastructure that provides reliability and consistency in order to grow and succeed.
The purpose of a transportation lockbox is to ensure that funds intended to be used for transportation remain reserved for that use only. These purposes can be spending on transportation meant for public use or benefit, including but not limited to the payment of debt service on obligations incurred by the state for transportation purposes, road and bridge repair, and mass transit. Any monies placed in this protected fund are effectively sacrosanct and cannot be used for any purpose unrelated to transportation. The legislature will retain its appropriation authority under the state constitution to determine which monies and in what amount get placed into the fund in a particular fiscal year.
I would respectfully urge the Transportation Committee to pass this resolution. Under Article Twelve of our state constitution, this constitutional amendment would need the support and vote of three-fourths of the total membership of each house in order to be on the ballot for the voters’ consideration in November of 2018. I hope that we can work together to achieve that. This would be an important step in creating an efficient, dependable transportation infrastructure for our business community and for our state. Thank you for your time and for your consideration of S.J. 5.