End of the road for Federal Highway Trust Fund?

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HARTFORD–Decaying, declining, and derailing is how U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal described Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure.

The need for extensive renovations and rebuilds on Connecticut interstates and railways is why Senators Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as Rep. John Larson, said at press conference that extending the federal Highway Trust Fund a mere two months until the end of July was unacceptable. They call on Congress for a long-term commitment.

The state relies heavily on the federal government for transportation projects–about 70 percent of funding comes from Washington.

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said without a long-term guarantee on federal funding, the DOT can’t really plan on much-needed big projects.

“We plan to continue projects, but that’s not going to be sustained if the money ends in two months, we’ll be able to sustain those projects for six months or more, but at some point we too will have to shut down projects,” Redeker claimed.

Sen. Blumenthal blamed the extreme right-wing on Capitol Hill for not extending the Highway Trust Fund longer.  He claimed that faction believes the burden of fixing interstates and rails should fall on the states.