Before lawmakers even consider raising the gas tax to fund transportation, they need to reassess how they spend existing transportation funds. Many of the state’s new projects offer little return on investment and represent a long-term maintenance cost. Lawmakers should focus on repairing the infrastructure we have rather than building new infrastructure we can’t afford. The latest payment for Connecticut’s rail line to Massachusetts makes the choices clear. The $155 million borrowed to pay for the new line almost exactly equals the $160 million needed for repairs to Metro-North’s New Haven line.
Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget chief told the appropriations committee Tuesday that, despite a pension agreement between the governor’s office and a group of state employee unions, Connecticut will face “a relatively brutal” increase in pension costs equal to 10 percent of the budget by 2023. The pension deal would essentially refinance the existing pension payments by extending them through 2046 to make up for a $16.5 billion funding shortfall.