Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, who is running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, Friday challenged Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's assertion that the state invested more than $1 billion in rail infrastructure and has restored the Special Transportation Fund.
"You can't claim credit for something you haven't done," McKinney said in a morning statement. "It would be great if the governor would actually invest a billion dollars in our rail system. I know a lot of commuters who would be very happy if that were true. The reality is this governor has raided nearly $190 million from the Special Transportation Fund since he took office. He uses the money not to fix ancient bridges or cracked rail lines, but to fill gaping holes in the state budget. Where are his priorities? It is clear he believes throwing half a billion federal dollars at a busway to nowhere is important. Those federal dollars should have been invested in our aging rail system -- again, priorities.
"Did the governor pass legislation banning future reductions or direct sweeps from the STF? Did he put back the money he took from the fund to balance the budget? No -- the reality is he did neither. As recently as May 4, Malloy took an additional $2 million that was supposed to be spent on transportation issues and chose to pay other bills. Certainly, he can understand why commuters are upset. To the governor's comment that I don't understand the budget, I'm ready to challenge him to a debate on the budget anytime -- anyplace."
Malloy, during his usual news conference after the monthly meeting of the State Bond Commission, said Friday, "We spend more money on transportation than was raised by the gas tax." He added that he has increased transportation spending by 165 percent. On the debate issue: "I'm sure we'll have one if he wins the primary."