Connecticut’s transportation administrative costs remain highest in the nation

Connecticut spends $99,417 per mile of road in administrative costs, according to the Reason Foundation’s annual study on state transportation spending and effectiveness.

Connecticut had the highest administrative costs in the country, which were nine times the national average of $10,864. The administrative cost per mile increased by 19 percent since the Foundation’s previous study in 2016.

According to the report, “Administrative disbursements typically include general and main-office expenditures in support of state-administered highways. They do not include project-related costs but occasionally include ‘parked’ funds, which are funds from bond sales or asset sales awaiting later expenditure.”

In total, Connecticut spent $497,659 per mile of road, the 44th most expensive in the nation. The average cost per mile was $178,116.

Connecticut ranked 46th in the nation overall with low scores for rural pavement condition, total dispersement per mile and bridge conditions, but scored well for its fatality rate.

Reason’s 2016 rankings showed Connecticut spent $83,282 per mile in administrative costs and $477,875 per mile in total.

Transportation funding is a hot-button issue this year as Gov. Dannel Malloy suspended 400 transportation projects because the state’s Special Transportation Fund is projected to fall into deficit.

In response, Malloy and some legislative leaders have called for increasing the state’s gas tax, installing tolls on Connecticut’s highways and the creation of a tire tax. The increases, when fully implemented, would reach nearly $1 billion per year in additional revenue.

Surging debt service and operating costs for the Special Transportation Fund have outpaced projected revenues. The governor and some lawmakers blame decreasing revenue from the state’s gas tax, even though gas tax revenue is projected to keep growing, just not enough to keep up with expenses.

The Special Transportation Fund has also been raided by legislatures in the past in order to fill budget gaps.

Although a number of projects have been suspended, Gov. Malloy’s $100 billion Let’s Go CT! infrastructure plan is still slated to receive another $3.7 billion in bonding over the next five years.

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Marc E. Fitch

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