The News-Times’ staff writer Dirk Perrefort reports that a portion of Connecticut’s chunk of the stimulus is on its way to Danbury. But there is a whiff of intrigue, if not faint early rumblings of dischord.
The money can be used for “efforts to acquire, rehabilitate, or overhaul buses or trains, or to bring online new technology into an existing transit system,” Murphy said. It could also be used for railroad station renovations or upgrades.
While much of the criteria for the stimulus money is still uncertain, Murphy said 50 percent of the transit dollars must be “designated” to certain projects within 180 days. The remainder of the money must be obligated within a year.
Boughton said he’s already had discussions with the congressman about how to use the funds.
“Murphy and myself will work together to create a list of projects … to enhance mass transit in the district,” Boughton said. “We will also work closely with my counterparts in the other towns in the region to develop the plan.”
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said there has been a lot of confusion about how the stimulus money will be funneled to local towns and where it is coming from.
Marconi said he was originally told Ridgefield would receive $1.5 million in education funding, and was then told the town would receive a little more than $1 million, spread out over two years.
“It’s literally a moving target and a work in progress,” he said. “We haven’t received any official notifications yet. We hear that these funds are coming and that’s great, but show us the money.”
Judd Everhart, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said that office has yet to be notified of specific allocations. Much of the federal money for transportation projects will be funneled down to the local level through the DOT.
“We have not been formally notified of specific allocations for specific municipalities and are eagerly awaiting the details,” he said. “We will be ready to go with state-level projects when the details are finalized.”
So the early maneuvers have CT-05 Murphy (D), and Danbury Mayor Boughton (R) – according to this account – setting up shop as the arbiters of who gets what, with neighboring suburbs understandably worried about getting a seat at the table. Meanwhile, the Rell Administration has its marker down as the exchequer, asserting its title as the agent of the Feds from the sounds of it.
I particularly enjoyed Boughton’s stuffed-shirted Murphy and I will decide who gets what. And we’ll be talking to other people too, of course. I don’t know if Boughton is a smart guy or what, but we may have just witnessed Rep. Murphy deftly cutting some kind of deal with Boughton, and getting Boughton to do the political dirty work.
Let’s hope that the press can enforce a transparency to this process, who gets to participate, and where the money goes. We’ll be watching.
Source: Dirk Perrefort, “Danbury area to get $9.8 million in stimulus money for mass transit projects.” The News-Times 06 March 2009 Continue reading