Republican minority leader criticizes use of state transportation funds

Senator Leonard Fasano-R-Cheshire and minority leader returned Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s rhetorical volley on Tuesday morning and challenged him to stop siphoning of specially dedicated fuel tax revenues for highways and transit in the Special Transportation Fund to cover other government shortfalls. transpomalloy Gov. Dannel Malloy, third from right, takes part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new I-95 interchange project in New Haven, Conn., Monday, June 20, 2011.

Under Malloy’s leadership since 2010, just over $189.4 million has been diverted from the Special Transportation Fund, a specially established fund to pay for transit and highway projects,  to pay for general government expenses.

Republicans have grappled with the Malloy administration this year over the Special Transportation Fund and Malloy’s continued use of the funds to pay for other government costs even with a well-documented backlog of needed work to upgrade aging infrastructure.

Last week, Malloy appeared publicly with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to publicly the federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money late next month federal officials said, reducing the monthly flow of transportation dollars to states including Connecticut.

Malloy said a Congressional impasse that prevented replenishing the fund could halt as many of 85 state projects.

“I can’t imagine Republicans being so crazy, so crazy that they would allow this to cripple our economy,” Malloy told Hearst Connecticut News last week.

Fasano said that Malloy  and the Democratic legislature are not being accountable for passing budgets that appropriate transportation funds.

“I find it ironic that Governor Malloy calls Republicans in Congress ‘crazy,’ when in fact he is the one who has made ‘crazy’ decisions to divert taxpayer dollars intended for transportation to other projects in his own state,” Fasano’s statement said. “He has not appropriately funded transportation and has shifted over $189 million dollars away from needed transportation improvement projects. In a state where transportation is so essential to economic development and quality of life – a state where unmet transportation needs have threatened people’s everyday safety  – I find the governor’s budget decisions irrational and unnerving.”