CT Lawmakers Shield Transport Fund from General-Fund Raids

Bipartisan support wins dedication of Special Transportation Fund to fund only roads and transit beginning July 2015 in the state with the fourth-highest fuel taxes

The transportation bill passed by the Connecticut legislature last week contains a single sentence that dedicates fuel taxes and other revenue solely for transportation projects. The language protects the state's Special Transportation Fund from what has become habitual raiding to pay general government costs.

Support for the measure was bipartisan, but State Rep. David Scribner (R-Danbury) said many legislators were disappointed the fund would not be off limits until July 2015. The budget, also passed by the legislature last week, takes about $120 million from the transportation fund to offset deficits in other areas of the spending plan.

Withdrawl of the funds coincides with a previously scheduled boost to the state's petroleum gross receipts tax from 7 percent to 8.1 percent, raising combined local, state and federal gas taxes to more than 60 cents a gallon (Connecticut levies the fourth-highest gas taxes of the 50 states).

Last week, Gian Carl Casa, undersecretary of legislative affairs for the Malloy administration, said the budget, which allocates revenues of $1.24 billion in fiscal 2014 and $1.33 billion in fiscal 2015 to the Special Transportation Fund, maintains Gov. Daniel P. Malloy's increase in the proportion of the amount of the state's petroleum gross receipts tax proceeds being dedicated to transportation uses.

Connecticut DOT has identified about $16 billion worth of unfunded road and bridge repairs and improvements that are needed over the next 20 years.

(more on CT transportation funding . . . )