The Bristol Blog features news and information about Bristol, Connecticut.
April 2, 2015
Closing the deficit and fixing I-95, too
Bear with me because I know this sounds crazy. But perhaps it's not.
One way to close the deficit and put the state's finances on more solid ground is to create a Connecticut Highway Authority and sell it I-95. After all, the highway is worth billions of dollars.
The authority, which would be an independent government agency just like New York's Turnpike Authority or the Port Authority in New York City, would sell bonds to pay for the road and its modernization, too.
It could charge tolls to get the cash to pay back bond purchasers.
But the authority could also develop state-owned land along or above the road to make even more money.
I don't profess to have the details, but I am reasonably sure that there's big money to be made through some kind of deal that transfers the busy highway to an authority that would be obligated to maintain and improve it.
It's not as if we'd be selling it to a private company. An authority would be a governmental entity, just not the state itself.
And it would, of course, mean that driving on I-95 would no longer be free. But, hey, paying for the right might make it so those who do shell out some toll money would actually have the opportunity to drive on the highway instead of sitting in traffic.
Anyway, it's something to think about it. Selling the highway would close the looming budget deficit and it might, at the same time, open the door to a better future for the road itself, which clearly needs some help.
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