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Vote on the Transportation Lockbox

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What is the STF LockBox Ballot?

The STF is the state's Special Transportation Fund. When you pay a gas tax or other existing fees and taxes into Connecticut's STF, what you may not know is that those funds can and have been taken out of the STF and used for other government spending unrelated to transportation.

 

Vote on Question 1, about Transportation on Nov 6.

 

On November 6 when you vote, question #1 on the ballot is about the STF. If you commute by bus or train, this ballot question is important to you. A "Yes" vote means that existing taxes and fees in the STF must be spent solely on transportation, including bus and rail service. A "No" vote, or ignoring the question altogether, changes nothing, allowing those funds to be used for other purposes.

 

 

 

Look for the Question

Every ballot in the state will look a little different in each municipality. The ballot will be double-sided so the question may not be on the front of the ballot for some voters. What voters need to look for is Question #1 that reads:

 

1. Shall the Constitution of the State be amended to ensure (1) that all moneys contained in the Special Transportation Fund be used solely for transportation purposes, including the payment of debts of the state incurred for transportation purposes, and (2) that sources of funds deposited in the Special Transportation Fund be deposited in said fund so long as such sources are authorized by statute to be collected or received by the state?

 

 

“We’ve recognized from the outset that an effective, forward-looking transportation system is absolutely key to economic growth.”
—Robert Patricelli, co-chair of Connecticut's Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, 2018

 

 

Op-Ed | by Doug Holcomb

Should transportation funds be spent on… transportation?

 

I think so. As far back as December 2015, the General Assembly was discussing the importance of ensuring that funding in the Special Transportation Fund (STF) be used “solely for transportation purposes.” In 2017, the House and Senate turned this matter over to the electors in a ballot measure. Now it is up the citizens of Connecticut to answer the question.

 

If you drive a car, use bridges, commute by train or bus, ride your bike or walk in Connecticut, this ballot question is important to you. A “Yes” vote means that existing taxes and fees intended for transportation must be spent on transportation projects and sets a course for predictable investment in our transportation system’s future. A “No” vote, or ignoring the question altogether, changes nothing, allowing those funds to be used for other purposes.

 

Our roads and bridges, sidewalks and bike lanes, trains and buses, are all supported by the STF — and it is struggling to stay solvent. Last winter, $4.3 billion in transportation projects were halted as efforts were made to shore-up the STF. At that time, both rail and bus services (both funded through the STF) faced massive cuts and fare increases. The Greater Bridgeport Region alone, was facing a $1.8 Million bus service cut. Similar cuts were being prepared to bus and rail across the state. While funding was restored on the last day of the legislative session, we are not out of the breakdown lane on this one.

 

I-95 in Fairfield County, CT
I-95 in Fairfield County, CT

 

It was a long time coming but by December 2017, the STF was insufficient to meet the needs of our transportation infrastructure. There are several reasons for this. The STF depends on the gas tax. As our cars become more fuel efficient, we are buying less when we fill up and consequently, less funding goes into the STF. In addition, the gasoline tax was cut by fourteen cents per gallon in the late 1990s. This hobbled the STF and it never fully recovered. To compound the problem, money intended for transportation projects has also been moved out of the STF — It is estimated that up to $650 million has been taken from the STF since 2011. This is funding that could have been invested in vital transportation services and infrastructure — the backbone of our economy. This is why the “LockBox” ballot matters to all of us.

 

 

“All of the Commission’s research on the ingredients behind positive economic growth point to the importance of effective transportation systems and vital central cities. These are the key infrastructure “enablers” for businesses and residents and they are high on our list of priorities. Unfortunately, on both counts Connecticut comes up short in terms of competitiveness…. Transportation is obviously a key priority.”
—Connecticut Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, Final Report March 2018

 

 

Transportation is central to our future success. Over the past two decades, there have been no fewer than four panels convened to make recommendations for system improvements. They all concluded the same thing ─ that predictable funding is essential to have a transportation system that is safe, in good repair, and efficient. Protecting the STF is a wise next step.

 

This November, when asked: “Shall all monies contained in the STF be used for transportation purposes?” the future of the State’s transportation will be up to you. A “No” vote changes nothing. A “Yes” vote supports the amendment and will prohibit lawmakers from using the transportation funding for anything other than transportation purposes, setting a course toward a modern transportation system that will benefit us all.

 

Douglas Holcomb

General Manager/CEO

Greater Bridgeport Transit

 

A version of this Op-ed piece was also published in the CT Mirror.

 

 

Listen In.

GBT CEO, Doug Holcomb on WPKN Radio, discusses the Lockbox.

 

Listen In.
NOTE: In English only.




 

More Info & News


State of Connecticut Secretary of State – Elections & Voting

Information about the ballot in English and Spanish is available.

Coalition emerges to support constitutional amendment | CT Post
“Representatives from labor unions, business associations, major state employers, environmental groups and transportation organizations, as well as both Republican and Democratic state legislators, contend it's crucial to support the proposed amendment to Connecticut's constitution that would create a so-called "lockbox" to help prevent money in the state's transportation account from being spent on other initiatives.”

 

What To Know About The Transportation Lockbox Question On Connecticut's Ballot | CT Public Radio
“…some Connecticut politicians and advocates are worried that voters may miss the question on the... lockbox. The lockbox is supposed to safeguard money earmarked for transportation.”

 

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