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Lamont talks transportation plan, nonprofits and Trump

HARTFORD — It was a full house at the Connecticut Convention Center Wednesday morning.

Governor Ned Lamont was there to address more than 600 representatives from nonprofits across the state. The Connecticut Nonprofit Alliance conference was raising awareness on issues ranging from mental health to addiction. Lamont saying this group is also key to boosting the state’s economy.

“If I am going to get everybody back and working in this state and get this economy growing, I can’t afford to leave any of these folks behind.”

The Governor also addressed his new multi-billion dollar transportation plans for the state. It includes fixing the transportation fund, widening I-95, and repairing faulty bridges. On the FOX61 Morning News Keith McGilvery asked him how he’ll pay for it.

“We pay for it with the lowest cost of financing in almost the last 100 years, With 2% funding coming from the Trump department of transportation, But it is not free money we’ve got to pay for it back, we pay for it with efficiencies, we pay for it with user fees on 14 bridges, that have got to be repaired,” says Lamont.

Some Democratic legislative leaders are giving early, positive reviews of Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont's latest transportation improvement proposal, which includes limited tolling on certain major bridges.

The Democratic governor's staff on Wednesday gave lawmakers a private preview of his $21 billion proposal, which he's expected to unveil publicly Thursday.

House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz  says he likes "a lot of the components" in the plan, which includes improvements to highways, bridges, rail and bus lines. He says it "might need a little work" but it's something he could "totally embrace."

Unlike earlier transportation proposals, this plan focuses on addressing the state's worst traffic chokepoints, an idea welcomed by Democrats and Republicans.

But Republicans, who've also met with Lamont's staff, still question whether highway tolls are necessary to accomplish that goal.

He also talked national politics. President Trump handily won Kentucky in 2016, now former Connecticut business executive, Republican Governor Matt Bevin is poised to lose the state to his democratic challenger in what has long been a red state.

“I do believe President Trump was there and said a vote for Bevin, is a vote for Donald Trump, and Bevin lost, so maybe it is a harbinger of things to come,” says Lamont.

Lamont also telling the Connecticut non-profits that a less devise country is best for the work that needs to get done.

“What worries me, as I told the people here is that we are increasingly polarized, as a country, and I am doing everything I can to bring people together here in Connecticut, and I hope we have elections around the country, that bring people together,” says Lamont.

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