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First Selectman Marpe Appoints Dewey Loselle as Town Operations Director

First Selectman Jim Marpe has appointed Dewey J. Loselle, III Operations Director for the Town of Westport. First Selectman Marpe stated, “I am most pleased to have Dewey working with me in the First Selectman’s office to assist me in carrying out the expanded mission I outlined during the election campaign. Dewey already has been making significant progress in enhancing the livability of our town as Chairman of the Downtown Steering Committee.”

A bi-partisan search committee unanimously recommended Mr. Loselle to the First Selectman. The search committee was chaired by Pete Wolgast, a former Executive Assistant to First Selectman Doug Wood. Former Board of Education Chairman Don O’Day, senior corporate executive Steve Parrish, communications specialist and town volunteer Karen Hess, and Westport Personnel Director Ralph Chetcuti also served on the committee. Chairman Wolgast stated “the high quality of applicants for this opening was amazing. As it turned out, Dewey has all of the experience and ability to be an outstanding success in his new role as Operations Director. I am certain that he will be a huge benefit to the First Selectman in his goal of improving the operations of Westport’s Town Government.” Don O’Day commented, “I was very impressed with all of the candidates and the decision on whom to recommend was not easy. After careful consideration, we chose Dewey based on his very impressive resume, his considerable knowledge of Westport’s governing structure, and his recent work leading the Downtown Steering Committee. He has shown he can get things done while reaching out to as many people as possible.” The Operations Director position is designated in Section C4-3 of the Town Charter giving the First Selectman the ability to employ someone to whom he can delegate authority in certain areas of government. During the past several months, the Town went through a formal personnel selection process. As part of that process, the Town personnel director developed a position description, publicly posted and advertised the position, and set up the group interview process. The funding of the position was approved as part of the annual budget process. Mr. Loselle has over 30 years of direct, full-time experience working in local and state government at the highest levels as a public servant, as Division Chief for the NYC Comptroller evaluating programs and agencies, as Assistant Commissioner for Budget and Finance in NYC, as a “Big 4” government consulting Principal/Partner, and as an elected official to the Westport RTM. In his professional career, he has conducted over one hundred consulting engagements with state and local governments helping them improve their performance and functionality. He has worked professionally as a consultant numerous times for the State of Connecticut and for local municipalities such as Greenwich and Stamford. His experience in Connecticut goes back to the original Thomas Commission under Gov. William O’Neill which looked at ways to re-engineer state government and make it more effective and efficient. In addition, as a 22-year resident of Westport, he has a good understanding of the workings of our state government and our Representative Town Meeting form of government in Westport. He is well versed in the Town’s Charter, budget, ordinances, and Zoning Regulations, as well as the workings of Westport’s many boards and commissions. Mr. Loselle’s educational background includes a BA in Government (Magna Cum Laude) from Boston University and a Masters in Public Administration from New York University with concentrations in Public Policy and Finance. In addition he has hundreds of hours of continuing education from Deloitte, KPMG and other entities.

GOV. MALLOY: CONNECTICUT MAKING SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS IN ADDRESSING GLOBAL WARMING

 

Report from DEEP Shows Decline in Carbon Emissions

 

 

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy said that Connecticut is making significant progress in reducing statewide emissions of harmful greenhouse gases (GHGs) to meet requirements set in state law, citing a report issued today by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) that details the state’s progress toward meeting the statutory mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 2001 levels by 2050.

 

The report, required under Connecticut’s 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act (Public Act 08-98), demonstrates that Connecticut is clearly on a trajectory to meet the 2020 mandate much sooner than that date and is putting programs in place to meet the 2050 mandate.

 

“Make no mistake about it, Connecticut is doing its part to slow global warming.  In fact, we are a national leader in efforts to reduce the amount of carbon emissions being put into the atmosphere.  Connecticut rolled our emissions back to 1990 levels two years sooner than anticipated,” Governor Malloy said, referring to a goal that was adopted by several northeastern states and eastern Canadian provinces and was to be achieved by 2010.  “The recent National Climate Assessment — documenting heat waves, droughts, deluges, and disease as climate impacts that are already occurring — underscores just how crucial this effort is.”

 

Data in the report demonstrates that total emissions of carbon dioxide and other climate pollutants from power plants, automobile tailpipes, household boilers, waste-to-energy facilities and other sources peaked in 2004 and then declined by a total of 17 percent through 2010, the most recent year for which full data are available.  As of 2010, Connecticut achieved more than half the reductions required by 2020 under the Global Warming Solutions Act, having reduced its emissions to 5.4% below 1990 levels.

 

The report shows that the biggest reduction was achieved in the electric power sector, where emissions fell 31 percent since 1990 and 22 percent since 2005.  The reductions in the power sector put Connecticut on track towards compliance with the carbon pollution standards for existing power plants released yesterday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

Other substantial emissions reductions documented in the report include:

 

  • Residential sector, where emissions fell 5 percent since 1990 and 24 percent since 2004.

 

  • Transportation sector, where emissions are dominated by tailpipe emissions from personal vehicles, Connecticut has seen an impressive 17% decrease in emissions from 2004.  Additional work is needed, however, to meet the state’s 2020 and 2050 emission reduction mandates.

 

Connecticut is working diligently to reduce transportation emissions by enacting stringent tailpipe emissions limits for cars and trucks sold in the state, building “range confidence” in order to facilitate adoption of electric and fuel cell vehicles that don’t have any tailpipe emissions, increasing mass transit opportunities, and supporting transit oriented urban/suburban planning.

 

“Statewide emissions of climate pollutants are clearly responding to the aggressive policies and programs Connecticut has put in place,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee said.  “Our progress is the direct result of an array of initiatives including  capping carbon emissions from the power sector through our participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); expanding popular and cost-effective energy savings programs to help residents and businesses reduce their energy bills;  generating more electricity from cleaner, cheaper natural gas rather than coal or oil; and increasing by ten-fold the amount of electricity we generate in-state from renewable sources.”

 

“All of these actions were recommended in the state’s Climate Change Action Plan, adopted in 2005, and were key features of Governor Malloy’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, adopted in 2013,” Klee added.

 

“Connecticut’s early success in fighting climate change demonstrates our commitment to protecting the environment, preserving a viable future for our children, and doing so in a manner that improves air quality, bolsters the economy, creates jobs, and saves money for families and businesses,” Klee said.  “Based on the success we have achieved, it is clear that there is no conflict between the environment and the economy when it comes to reducing carbon emissions.”

 

Complementing its efforts to mitigate global warming by reducing emissions of GHGs, Connecticut has also launched major efforts to address the issue of climate adaptation – to deal with changes in climate that will result from the level of emissions already in the atmosphere.  These include:

 

  • Established a ground-breaking microgrid program designed to help keep critical infrastructure, like hospitals, police stations, pharmacies and gas stations; operating when the there’s an electrical outage.

 

  • Launched the Connecticut Institute for Community Resilience and Climate Adaptation, a partnership between the University of Connecticut, DEEP, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to develop strategies to enhance the resilience of coastal and riverine communities while protecting natural ecosystems from climate change.

 

  • Approved legislation requiring more planning and preparation by the electric utility companies – and holds them more accountable for their performance during and after storms.

 

  • Created a Connecticut Shoreline Resiliency Fund, a low-interest loan program to help residents elevate their homes and businesses and flood-proof their facilities if they are subject to coastal flooding.

 

“Connecticut is tackling climate change holistically: working to bring climate change under control and to prepare for and minimize its impacts,” Klee said.  “These efforts will assure that Connecticut remains a great place to live, work, and play.”

 

Data recently released from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that Connecticut was one of the top 3 lowest energy-related C02 emitting states in the U.S. per unit of economic output.

 

The “Taking Action on Climate Change: 2014 Progress Report” is available online at www.ct.gov/deep/climateprogress2014

 

GOV. MALLOY SIGNS BILL CREATING STATE-WIDE ELECTRONIC BOOK DELIVERY SYSTEM

 

Legislation Authorizes State Library to Create E-Book Platform

 

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today signed P.A. 14-82, An Act Concerning a State-wide Platform for the Distribution of Electronic Books, authorizing the State Library to create and maintain a state platform for the distribution of electronic books (e-books) to public library patrons. The bill was passed in response to legislation Governor Malloy signed last year that commissioned the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) to study how Connecticut’s public libraries could gain fairer access to e-books.

 

“As the role of libraries changes, it’s critical that we continue to provide invaluable resources that support the educational advancement of Connecticut citizens in a digital age,” said Governor Malloy. “We are leading the nation with the passage of common sense legislation that will increase educational opportunities for library patrons.”

 

The DCP study, found that, while over 90 percent of state libraries were offering at least some e-books to their patrons, the most popular titles were often unavailable or only available at prices well above the consumer price. To increase the availability of e-books and other e-content at libraries, the study recommended, among other things, the creation of a state-wide e-book distribution platform.

 

“I want to thank the Governor for supporting the creation of the first statewide e-book purchasing program in the nation,” said Rep. Brian Sear (D-Canterbury). “E-books are the technological wave of the future, and this platform will create easy and consistent access and pricing of e-books to libraries throughout Connecticut, and result in significant cost savings.”

 

“With this new law, the State of Connecticut will ensure our local libraries have a broad selection of e-books,” said Sen. Paul Doyle (D-Wethersfield), Co-Chairman of the General Law Committee. “Prior to this legislation, it was unclear if municipal libraries would be able to continue to provide their citizens with e-book selections. I want to thank Governor Malloy and all those who collaborated on this issue for their support.”

 

“The e-book legislation was one of the most popular bi-partisan bills of the session,” said Rep. David Baram (D-Bloomfield), Co-Chairman of the General Law Committee. “It represents a comprehensive state strategy to purchase e-books for our public libraries so that patrons throughout the state can enjoy them without the significant cost of purchase.  By creating a state purchasing platform, we can flex our economic muscle to acquire e-books, overcoming the restrictive marketing taking place within the industry aimed at promoting private sales for increased profits. This will lower public library costs and provide greater e-book access to Connecticut residents.  It was a personal pleasure to advocate this bill as part of our General Law Committee agenda.”

 

Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), Ranking Member of the General Law Committee, stated, “I am excited to see our libraries expand and modernize their offerings to encourage reading.  Literacy is a key to learning, and reading in any format is important for people of all ages.”
“The use of e-books has exploded in recent years, so this legislation will help libraries offer more resources to the public,” said Rep. Dan Carter (R-Bethel), Ranking Member of the General Law Committee. “Our libraries remain an important part of our community, as well as destinations for family-friendly education and recreation. This is a step in the right direction as we seek to keep libraries outfitted with relevant and useful resources, and encourage reading among people of all ages and backgrounds.”

 

State Librarian Kendall Wiggin said, “With the recent development of a statewide e-book platform, Connecticut will continue to lead in library resource sharing. It is important that our citizens have the same level of access to e-books as they have to print books and this legislation will allow the State Library to make that happen.”

 

“The Connecticut Library Association is extremely pleased that Governor Malloy has signed the legislation that will enable the Connecticut State Library to create a statewide e-book delivery system,” said Connecticut Association President Richard Conroy. “Connecticut is a national leader on this issue, and we applaud the Governor for recognizing the importance of providing e-books to all of our State’s residents in a fair and equitable way.  As the market evolves, we anticipate that this important new service will have a positive influence on the relationship between publishers and libraries with regard to e-books.”

 

Studies show that e-books are now the preferred book format for many readers. Between 2002 and 2012, e-book share of trade publishing revenue increased from 0.05 percent to roughly 23 percent. In 2012, nearly 80 percent of libraries reported that they experienced a dramatic increase in the demand for e-books during the previous year.

GOV. MALLOY ANNOUNCES ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE GRANTS AWARDED TO SMALL TOWNS THROUGHOUT CONNECTICUT

#HARTFORD, CT – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced a series of grants under the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP), which will be awarded to 28 towns throughout Connecticut for the purposes of funding a variety of economic development, community conservation and quality-of-life projects.

 

“These small town grants allow the state to partner with municipalities on projects that will help improve our communities, rebuild our infrastructure, and create jobs,” Governor Malloy said.  “These are investments that will make our towns a better place to live and work, will increase the quality of life, and help attract economic development and growth.”

 

The STEAP grants announced today are as follows:

Greenwich

$500,000 to help fund the expansion of the Nathaniel Witherell’s rehabilitation center.  The Nathaniel Witherell is a 110-year-old municipally-owned, skilled nursing facility and short-term rehabilitation center that cares for hundreds of people every year.  The existing conditions pose severe accessibility issues for residents, staff and visitors as the building was constructed before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed. The renovations will provide ADA and facility upgrades to provide patients with more comfortable, updated surroundings.

 

 

Oxford

$500,000 for the design, construction and completion of Phase I of the Agnes Schiavi Tetlak Park project, including excavation, site preparation, utility work and completion of an all-purpose athletic field.  The overall project also includes building a pavilion on site.

 

Redding

$342,000 for parking lot improvements to the Mark Twain Library, a private, non-profit corporation that provides free library services to the Town of Redding.  The funding will be used to expand and improve the parking and make improvements to the drainage and septic system infrastructure.

 

Ridgefield

$320,000 for Phase III of the Danbury Road Streetscape project.  Funding for this phase will go toward the installation of decorative streetlights, new sidewalks, and retrofitted handicapped ramps to enhance pedestrian safety.

 

Ridgefield

$180,000 for final design and construction of exterior site improvements to Ridgefield’s Town Hall, including the reconstruction of existing walkways and stairs, installation of new lighting, and drainage improvements to improve site safety and aesthetics.

 

Seymour

$200,000 for Phase III of the Seymour Sidewalk Replacement Project, making them ADA compliant.  Streets include Pearl Street, Washington Ave and Roberts Street.

 

Trumbull

$226,000 for the renovation of the Mary J. Sherlach Counseling Center, which provides family counseling for Trumbull residents and their families.  The center will undergo a general renovation, including making the building ADA compliant.  Formerly the Trumbull Council Center, the town council voted to rename the building in February 2013 in honor of Mary Sherlach, who lost her life in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

 

Weston

$225,000 to replace the town’s worn soccer/lacrosse field with synthetic turf.  The field is used by Weston High School, Weston’s Park and Recreation, soccer clubs and various other community groups.

 

Wethersfield

$450,000 for the Commercial Façade Improvement Program and redevelopment of 1000 Silas Deane Highway.  The Façade Improvement Assistance program has been in existence since 2005 and was established to provide financial assistance to business owners along the Silas Deane Highway, Berlin Turnpike and Main Street with commercial building façade improvements.  1000 Silas Deane Highway is a blighted property that will be redeveloped with the intent to create a net positive impact for the community.

 

Willington

$500,000 for Phase III of the reconstruction of Turnpike Road, including drainage and improvements.  The road was heavily damaged by flooding in October 2005 and the town has been working diligently to repair it to ensure a smooth and safe drive for commuters.

 

Wilton

$500,000 for the Wilton Train Station Walkway Project, which consists of the design and construction of a pedestrian travelway that connects the Wilton Train Station, Wilton Center and several multi-family residential communities.  The project will provide a safe pathway for people to walk throughout the center of town.

Woodbridge

$500,000 for pedestrian and traffic flow improvements to the north entrance of the Beecher Road Elementary School.  The renovation will improve safety and access to the school for students, employees and the residents of Woodbridge.

 

Mayor Finch announces more than 300 summer jobs being created across Bridgeport; Urges other businesses to help create additional summer jobs

 

“These jobs will provide a structured environment for our youth to learn, and will also help grow our economy and pave a pathway to their future success.” – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

 

Bridgeport, Connecticut (May 8, 2014) – At a press conference today, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch joined representatives from businesses and community groups to announce summer job efforts around the city, which collectively will create more than 300 summer jobs for Bridgeport youth. The more than 300 summer jobs will be open to youth in Bridgeport, ranging from ages 14-21.

 

In addition to the announcement, Mayor Finch urged other members of the business community to do their part to help create jobs in Bridgeport this summer.

 

“We want to put people to work right here in Bridgeport, including young adults during the summer months,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “When businesses step up to the plate and provide opportunities for young people, the entire city benefits. These jobs will provide a structured environment for our youth to learn, and will also help grow our economy and pave a pathway to their future success.”

 

Mayor Finch continued: “More than 300 jobs is a great start, but we’re hoping to put even more of our youth to work this summer. We urge other businesses in the community to join us in this effort.”

 

Others in attendance at the press conference included: Bank of America; PSEG; The Workplace; and the Mayor’s Conservation Corps. The City of Bridgeport is partnering with The Workplace Inc., one of five Workforce Development Boards in Connecticut that prepares people for careers while strengthening the workforce for employers. That partnership created 270 summer youth jobs this year.

 

These jobs include 50 with the Mayor’s Conservation Corps, a group of young adults who go door-to-door in the city educating homeowners about recycling, energy conservation and savings, storm water management and the importance of planting trees.

 

“For every young person, a job offering decent work can be an important step in their journey toward adulthood and self-reliance. Youth employment programs provide engaging, work-based educational opportunities designed to help youth explore careers, learn new skills, and earn income,” said The WorkPlace President and CEO Joseph Carbone. “The WorkPlace commends Mayor Finch and the city for its support and leadership in facilitating the growth of youth employment opportunities.”

 

And, Wilifred Murphy, Program Director of the Conservation Corps, added: “Young people in the Mayor’s Conservation Corps will be trained in valuable green job skills that help protect our community and preserve the earth. We’re giving each cohort  of students that apply to our program each year a real world perspective while shaping their skills to ensure that we have a stronger workforce and community in place tomorrow.”

 

Also, in partnership with the United Way, Bank of America has committed $7,500 to summer youth job creation, and so far the group has raised $15,000 of the total $50,000 needed to fund 50 summer jobs in total. In addition, Posigen – a solar company that recently moved to Bridgeport – will create 10 summer jobs, and PSEG will create a total of four summer jobs.

 

“Earning a paycheck this summer is important, but more critical are the real-world interpersonal and problem-solving skills these kids will develop,” said Bill Tommins, Bank of America’s Southern Connecticut Market President. “Experiences like these will enable them to better themselves, their families and their communities.”

 

Tom Copus of PSEG added: “PSEG is very happy to be a part of this program. We’re excited to have youth come and learn about energy.”

 

Mayor Finch also noted local businesses can help make a difference in the young people of Bridgeport by donating money, agreeing to hire one young person part-time for the summer or volunteering their time to support the training program. Businesses interested in contributing to the program can contact Tammy Papa at 203-576-7252 or tammy.papa@bridgeportct.gov.

 

The program will be administered by the city’s Office of Youth Services and is a partnership between the City, Bank of America, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County and Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).  The City’s Office of Youth Services will manage the effort and has extensive experience in recruiting, training and employing young people.

 

Having had numerous occasions in which to partner with The Workplace, Inc. on the implementation of past summer youth employment programs, the Office of Youth Services is prepared to  accept applications, interview candidates, and match prospective youth with the ideal job.  Interested youth should contact Mary Ray, Teen Training and Employment Specialist at 203-576-7252.

 

The deadline for submitting applications is June 13, 2014.

 

If you have any questions, please contact Brett Broesder at brett.broesder@bridgeportct.gov or call (203) 257-1049.

As legislative session nears end, Mayor Finch, Representative Alexander and advocates push for adoption rights

It’s crucial that the state passes this bill, which allows adopted children to access their birth records. This will help ensure that adoptees not only have a fair shot at knowing their medical history, but also at finding their identity.” – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch

 

Bridgeport, Connecticut (May 6, 2014) – With less than 48 hours left in the legislative session, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Representative David Alexander (D-58) joined advocates from Access Connecticut urging passage of adoptee rights legislation (H.B. 5144).

 

“As an adoptee, I know first-hand what it’s like to lack access to your birth records,” said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. “It’s crucial that the state passes this bill, which allows adopted children to access their birth records. This will help ensure that adoptees not only have a fair shot at knowing their medical history, but also at finding their identity.”

 

In 2006, then State Senator Finch was the sponsor of similar legislation that passed through both chambers of the General Assembly. However, then Governor Jodi Rell vetoed the bill. Since, the bill has failed to make it through both the House and Senate. In order for H.B. 5144 to become law, it must be passed by the Senate by Wednesday, May 7, 2014, and signed by Governor Dannel P. Malloy.

 

“This is a tough emotional issue for adoptees like myself,” said Representative Alexander. “But this is about social reform and giving people their identity. Most states are adopting similar legislation. We’re running out of time and pleading with the Senate to take up this issue and get it passed.”

 

Karen Caffrey, president of Access Connecticut: “I stand here not as a person who is taking back a right they never had, but to get my right back. We’re not only considered second-hand citizens based on state law, but also emotionally. The status quo is a failed experiment. This bill will cover 24,000 adoptees and serve as a great first step.”

 

For more information, please visit www.bridgeportct.gov.

Railroad Parking Permit Renewals Begin

 

June 30, 2014 is the expiration date for all Railroad Parking Permits. Renewal letters have been sent out to all permit holders. For the first time, permit renewal letters have been sent by email to permit holders with a valid email address on file. If an email address is incorrect the permit holder will then receive a permit renewal letter by mail. If you are a current permit holder but have not received a renewal letter by the end of this week, whether by email or by regular mail, you should contact the Railroad Parking Division.

Permits may be renewed in 3 ways. Permit holders can renew their permit online, by mail, or in person at Police Headquarters. Online renewals are also charged a 3.5% conveyance fee. Online renewals and mail-in renewals will have their permits mailed to the address on record for that permit. Instructions for renewal are printed on the renewal letter. Unfortunately, the Railroad Parking Division does not have the capability at this time to accept credit card payments by mail or at Police Headquarters. Credit cards may only be used for payment for online renewals. Loss of or non-delivery of your renewal letter does not necessarily guarantee the ability to renew late and these cases are reviewed on an individual basis. Permits which are not renewed are subject to removal from the permit list.

Rep. Lavielle Opposes Midterm Budget Based on Flawed Assumptions, Supports Alternative

 

 

HARTFORDState Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143) opposed an approximately $19 billion midterm budget agreement between Governor Dannel P. Malloy and majority Democratic lawmakers in Saturday’s House session, citing its unsubstantiated revenue estimates and misleading accounting practices. The House voted on the budget adjustments bill on Saturday, May 3 shortly before 10 p.m., and it passed without a single Republican vote.

 

The General Assembly, which sets a biennial budget in odd-numbered years, must pass a revised midterm budget in even-numbered years, taking into account both changes in revenue assumptions and revisions in spending requirements and policies.

 

Last week, consensus revenue projections established by the administration’s Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis (OFA) showed a dramatic decline of $460 million in anticipated tax revenues, which forced majority leadership to abandon plans to send out individual taxpayer $55 rebate checks just before the November election. Then, on Saturday afternoon, majority leaders on the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee introduced a last-minute $75 million increase in “miscellaneous revenue”. When asked, they explained that they expected the state to collect these funds from delinquent taxpayers. Notably, OFA representatives stated that they could not substantiate this claim.

 

“Unfortunately, this budget rests on unsubstantiated assumptions and commits one-time available funds to long-term uses,” said Rep. Lavielle. “If the legislature and the administration don’t face budgetary realities, Connecticut may well be left with significant ongoing future commitments that won’t have corresponding ongoing revenue streams to sustain them. The inevitable consequence is higher taxes for our already beleaguered taxpayers, or broken promises to our most vulnerable populations – or both.”

 

Rep. Lavielle noted that while the majority’s adjusted budget is presented as balanced, it relies on a number of misleading accounting tactics, including:

 

  • Assuming $75 million in unspecified “miscellaneous” tax collections
  • Ignoring $52 million in contractually required payments for retiree healthcare
  • Delaying repayment of $196 million in economic recovery notes
  • Raiding about $20 million from the Special Transportation Fund to be used for non-transportation purposes
  • Using more than $20 million from accounts outside the General Fund, money that will not be “counted” as spending, to pay for new long-term Higher Education programs

 

It also increases spending by 2.5 percent, including funding for more than 480 new state employees.

 

“The General Assembly has a responsibility to protect the people of Connecticut by not making commitments that jeopardize the state’s financial future and its ability to provide the services they pay for,” said Rep. Lavielle. “Sadly, this adjusted budget puts the state on a path that will lead to a two-year structural deficit of almost $3 billion by 2017. Unfortunately, it sacrifices long-term fiscal health for short-term appearances.”

 

Rep. Lavielle and her fellow Republicans presented an alternative budget proposal in late April, and updated it last week to reflect the drop in projected revenues.

 

The primary goal of the Republicans’ plan was to undo the misleading accounting maneuvers and budgeting techniques in the Democratic proposal. It reduced spending, with measures like a hard hiring freeze and a travel ban for state workers, restored funding for road and bridge repairs, increased municipal aid by $21 million, took steps toward reducing long-term liabilities, and stayed below the state’s spending cap.

 

Republicans offered their alternative budget proposal as an amendment to the majority’s budget adjustment during the House floor debate on Saturday night, but it was defeated on a party line vote.

 

“I was disappointed that majority leadership did not consider the proposals by House and Senate Republicans, particularly given the high degree of effective bipartisan collaboration in other areas like consumer protection, education, and campus sexual violence prevention during this session,” said Rep. Lavielle. “Regardless, we must continue to fight for responsible budgeting that does not allow short-term gain to jeopardize sustained and structural fiscal health. The people of Connecticut deserve a fully bipartisan, open and honest budget process, one that’s based on realistic assumptions and makes no commitments the state can’t afford.”

Himes, DeLauro, Esty, Maloney Unveil Comprehensive Rail Safety Bill

 

 

NEW HAVEN, CT—Three of Connecticut’s representatives to Congress—Jim Himes, Rosa DeLauro, and Elizabeth Esty—unveiled today the Rail Safety Enforcement Act, comprehensive legislation to enhance rail safety. They are joined by New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney as an original cosponsor. The four representatives announced their intent to introduce the legislation last month and are formally introducing the bill today.

 

“Metro North’s string of accidents and delays over the past year is unacceptable and inexcusable. One of the busiest commuter rail lines in the country must be safer and must be more reliable – it is critical to our safety and to our region’s continued economic vitality,” said Himes. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that will help ensure that accidents like the Bronx derailment and the death of a Metro-North track worker earlier this year will never happen again.”

 

“We should take every precaution to prevent rail accidents from happening,” DeLauro said. “That is our duty.  The Rail Safety Enforcement Act is comprehensive, common-sense legislation that will improve rail safety all across the nation. Our first responsibility for our train systems has to be ensuring the public safety.”

 

“Safe, reliable rail service is critical to our economy,” Esty said. “As a member of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Railroads, I’ve urged Congress to strengthen our rail safety standards and procedures to ensure, above all, that commuters are safe. These commonsense modifications that we’re proposing today need to be part of the solution.”

 

“We can’t wait until the next tragic accident to adopt these commonsense measures to protect workers and commuters. Passing the Rail Safety Enforcement Act ensures all commuter rails like Metro-North have redundant safety measure that keep folks safe,” said Maloney.

 

“Rail employees, as well as riders and communities on the railroads, deserve the peace of mind of knowing that railroads are as safe as possible,” said Edward Wytkind, president of Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “The legislation is a significant step forward in making sure our railroads are operating with the best practices while protecting the people who work on them. We urge Congress to move this legislation without delay.”

 

The Rail Safety Enforcement Act has five main provisions:

  1. Requires that every rail carrier control cab have an “alerter,” an automatic failsafe device that sounds an alarm when a train engineer seems idle while the train is in motion.
  2. Requires every rail carrier to develop a fatigue risk plan within 60 days and submit it to the Secretary of Transportation
  3. Requires every carrier to report on their progress in implementing the Positive Train Control System within 180 days of enactment.
  4. Requires the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations mandating “shunting,” or redundant signal protection for workers on the track.
  5. Mandates that railroad employees are provided with predictable and defined work and rest schedules.