Recovery: March 23, 2009 Minutes

DRAFT CT Recovery Working Group
March 23, 2009 2 PM
State Capitol Old Judiciary Room

The meeting was called to order at 2:07 PM

Committee Members:

Joan McDonald, Commissioner  Department of Economic & Comm. Development
Joseph Marie, Commissioner Department of Transportation
Raeanne Curtis, Commissioner Department of Public Works
Gina McCarthy, Commissioner (absent) Department of Environmental Protection
Patricia Mayfield, Commissioner Department of Labor
Michael Cicchetti, Deputy Secretary Office of Policy & Management
Mary Ann Hanley, Director Office of Workforce Competititveness
Jeffrey Parker, Deputy Commissioner Department of Transportation
David O’Hearn, Deputy Commissioner Department of Public Works
Peter Simmons Department of Economic & Comm. Development
Mary Anne O’Neill Office of the Governor
Lisa Moody Office of the Governor
Matthew Fritz Office of the Governor
Donald DeFronzo, State Senator General Assembly – Senate Democrats
Carlo Leone, State Representative General Assembly – House Democrats
Paul Pimentel General Assembly – Senate Republicans
James Finley, Exec. Director/CEO CT Conference of Municipalities
Bart Russell, Exec. Director (absent) CT Council of Small Towns
Donald Shubert, President CT Construction Industries Association
John Olsen CT Employment and Training Commission
George Gallo General Assembly – House Republicans

Introductory Remarks – Matt Fritz

Matt Fritz offered welcoming remarks and noted that there were various handouts on the back table. They are as follows:

• ARRA Housing Fact Sheet
• ARRA Reinvestment Act Projects - Enhancements
• Regional Shovel Ready Projects Spring 2009
• ARRA Reinvestment Act Projects – Transit and Rail

Mary Ann O’Neill – Update: She reported that there has been a lot of activity since the last meeting and numerous applications received for federal grants. Applications have been made by Office of Victim Services (Judicial); Culture and Tourism; Social Services; DEP.

The website has been updated with more functionality – if anyone has suggestions in improving the website, please let her or Matt know.

She reported that millions of dollars worth of projects are listed on the website.

Lobbyists: ARRA inquiries that lobbyists have made will be listed on the website. Agencies will report any new inquiries to the Governor’s Office.

Committee Reports:

Commissioner McDonald: Housing Overview – Public Housing Capitol Fund: Directly to the housing authorities who have federal housing staff. CT is one of 3 states who have housing staff.
Are we eligible – low income tax credits; Connecticut home funds and house trust fund dollars.

Proprietary projects – Commissioner McDonald is tracking all of these projects – do they have state and local permits? TCAP progress: received $26,170,888 million to CHFA grants to use to plug funding gaps. 75% of TCAP funds will be committed by February 2010. 75% must be expended by Feb. 2011 and 100% of the funds must be expended by February 2012.

Tax credit allocation – CHFA tax exempt – 2008; 2009 are in process of evaluating

Housing lets them swap – do not know the rules – waiting to hear from the Federal Government

Homeless Prevention Fund – provides financial assistance to individuals and families to prevent them from becoming homeless. 60% of funds need to be spent within 2 years. Distributed to non-profits.

Neighborhood Stabilization – competitive grants awarded for activities eligible under Division B, Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Eligible applicants are states, units of general local government and non-profits.

Green Retrofits – United States Housing Act of 1937 amended to make energy and green retrofit investments in a property.

Questions – If pursuing a waiver for Federal Housing for State-owned housing?

Answer – MA, CT and Hawaii - not very likely – still pursuing with HUD

Commissioner Marie

Enhancements: $9 million set aside to be used for transportation projects

List increased –they chose the most beneficial and most shovel ready from the list.

Reference to Mystic Street Improvement Project

Question: Do not see all other projects that will not be considered – is there a list of those?

Answer: Yes there is a list of the projects that have not been considered.

A list will be sent to committee members

Question: Will there be money allocated for bikeways/trails?

Answer: Yes they have already been included. Lisa Moody reported that the Governor has received emails requesting Bikeways/Greenways. The Governor has made this a priority.

Although the figure of $137 Million was listed on website, it has been updated to $152 million – is actually more than originally thought.

Commissioner Marie – Transit Projects: Since the last meeting, the agency sat down with transit districts to come up with a program to spend this money.

Bus Procurement, replacement and upgrade of 106 buses, as follows:

Buses – last time they were replaced was 12 years ago – free up money to work with transit districts. $120 million not shovel ready - moving forward with bus project

Will be purchasing 106 hybrid buses

Meet with planning organizations – transit district included these that were in Norwalk and Windham Districts – a bus engine usually lasts 6 years

Bus Projects – Commuter Park and Ride Lot Improvements

Rail Lines /Stations:

Danbury – Install centralized train control and signalization on Danbury Branch line
New Haven – Service and Maintenance shop; line station improvements;
Branford – Shoreline East Branford

Question: Are these American made buses?

Answer: Yes

Question: Upgrading buses hybrid – are they able to do this?

Answer: Yes they will be able to deliver as hybrid

Question: Will there be purchases of fuel cell buses?

Answer: No – due to lack of Buy American Waivers – fuel cell industry is outside of the stimulus package - do not have enough American competitors to meet the Buy American requirements.

Question: Out of the 106 buses purchased, are they prioritized - locations?

Answer: Yes – they will be utilized in Hartford, New Haven, Stratford, Bristol, Waterford

Question: Will there be a quantification of jobs from this purchase?

Answer: Yes – benchmarking has been done – we should have a rough figure in a few weeks which will be posted on the website.

Regional/Highway Bridge Projects:

$211 Million dollars have been allocated for highway/bridge projects – towns have been asked to submit projects. DOT will have to comply with Federal programs. RPO’s will come up with a list - one year to obligate funds

Some agencies haven’t made a decision on prioritizing …
Pick regional organizations – reach out – bring project to a decision point – TIP or STIP
DOT projects are out to bid – they are encouraging the regions to make a decision now in order to begin work

Question: Will a decision ultimately be made by this committee and will they guide the locals – to come up with projects in a timely manner?

Answer: Info. To Mary Ann/Matt on those locals who need assistance with prioritizing their projects

Question: What is the deadline for getting these projects to Mary Ann/Matt?

Answer: Within three weeks

Discretionary Projects:

Provide projects that are potentially discretionary projects. Identify those that are discretionary – 6 or 7 freight rail projects, dredging projects for Old Saybrook, Clinton, Norwalk

Project – Bradley – Main runway reconstruction – second runway - FAA has indicated that this project is a high priority.

Wooster/Providence – getting okay from them

Moses Wheeler Bridge

Springfield to New Haven Rail line - Evaluating language

Open up to municipalities/non-profits – focus on them to get their projects done

Question: Is CT committed to green?

Answer: Doing what we can – are pretty balanced 25% green and very committed

Question: Railing – $30 million shovel ready jobs – authorized $300 million tier 1 elements

Answer: over and above

General Question and Answer:

Question: Will this whole process be integrated into a Matrix/Timeline?

Answer: Yes –process was established, including funding process, for which agencies are responsible - this has been sent to State agencies and are waiting for responses - when results are back, it will be finalized and made available on the website.

Question: Timeliness?

Answer: The Governor’s office is aware of the timeframe and is working on this

Question: What can we expect for money for energy purposes?

Answer: OPM is the designated agency for energy issues – they are finalizing the state energy grant program – will be filed at the end of today.

Question: Energy progress?

Answer: State is making efforts to expand energy programs – should be finalized by May 12th.

Question: Clean Water Act – Update

Answer: Are getting ready to release proposed list - is also listed on the web. DEP will be holding a public hearing this week. DEP is working on process - needs to revisit list.

Question: Technology Grants

Answer: Lt. Gov. is working on this – DPH has a Health Plan (Technology) – they are bringing in a number of groups - will take longer for the Federal Government . The Governor has asked the Lt. Governor to work on this with Senator Williams.

A motion was made, seconded and carried to move forward on the Enhancement Projects and Transit Projects. The motion was unanimous.

Meeting adjourned at 3:15 pm. Next meeting will be 4/13/09 in the afternoon. .


Content Last Modified on 4/9/2009 9:32:05 AM