Construction industry: Transportation cuts would damage CT economy

BY Matt Pilon

Photos | HBJ File
Photos | HBJ File
Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association.
A construction industry group warned Tuesday that if the legislature fails to adequately invest in transportation, Connecticut's economy will suffer in the long run.

If the state keeps spending on highways, bridges and transit "at minimum investment level," Connecticut could lose $21.4 billion in state gross domestic product (GDP) over the next two decades, according to the report by American Road & Transportation Builders Association and commissioned by the Connecticut Construction Industries Association (CCIA).

The timing is no coincidence. CCIA issued the report as the legislature could vote on a budget plan Thursday.

CCIA's members are worried about a proposed $700 million cap on transportation bonding, which the Department of Transportation says is $200 million less than what it needs.

CCIA President Don Shubert said the report should send a message to legislators not to cut transportation funding.

"State lawmakers need to address where the revenue is going to come from," Shubert said. "Continuing to raise taxes in a struggling economy is not a sustainable formula, and it's becoming very clear we're competing with neighboring states. More neglect of our transportation systems is not going to give us a competitive advantage."