Recovery: February 26, 2009 Minutes

CT Recovery Working Group
February 26, 2009 - 11:00 AM
State Capitol Republican Caucus Room

The meeting was called to order at 11:05 am

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 Department of Environmental Protection
Patricia Mayfield, Commissioner Department of Labor
Michael Cicchetti, Deputy Secretary Office of Policy & Management
Mary Anne Hanley, Director Office of Workforce Competititveness
Jeffrey Parker, Deputy Commissioner Department of Transportation
David O’Hearn, Deputy Commissioner Department of Public Works
Peter Simmons Dept. of Economic & Community 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
Christy Scott General Assembly – House Democrats
Paul Pimentel General Assembly – Senate Republicans
James Finley, Exec. Director/CEO CT Conference of Municipalities
Bart Russell, Exec. Director CT Council of Small Towns
Donald Shubert, President CT Construction Industries Association
John Olsen CT Employment and Training Commission

Introductory Remarks – Lisa Moody

Lisa Moody reported that Washington has not yet provided clear and complete guidelines on the usage of the Federal stimulus package funding. Mayors, CCM, Legislators and towns were asked to give the Governor’s office a shovel ready’ project list. Over 2000 projects came forward from 200 entities from cities, states and non profit agencies. $11 billion total is the amount that will be given to the State of CT. Today is an open public meeting - open to the press and others to give everyone a say. Matt Fritz and Mary Ann O’Neill are the key people from the Governor’s office working on the project.

Update on Committee Work:

The federal bill is 1100 pages. The NGA summary is available to read. Copies were provided at today’s meeting.

The Governor’s Office sent two letters to legislators, municipalities and received a good response. Mary Ann O’Neill and Matt Fritz reviewed and organized the list of responses from municipalities to remove duplication and remove any non-shovel ready projects (i.e. those that are not designed and ready to go).

An 120-180 day turn around time required for the shovel in the ground from Feds; 50% of money must be out within 180 days

The total was narrowed to $6 billion viable projects utilizing engineers to assist in screening

Governor’s Office met with Commissioners to discuss incorporating competitive grant process and making sure applications will be submitted immediately upon receiving Fed OK.

Senator McKinney entered.

Of the billions in stimulus, a portion to go to Medicaid and DOL Unemployment Compensation modernization

$302 million road and bridge $78 million to RPAs (local)? – $224 million left for state
$137 million transit projects

Projects must be on the ‘TIP’ for local and on the ‘STIP’ for state (Transportation Improvement Program).

There is also discretionary funds of $5 billion and $1.5 billion but no guidelines out yet;

Joe Marie, DOT Commissioner gave briefing:
• Met with FTA on recording requirements
• $224 million must be obligated within 120 days.
• How DOT is helping with project management to towns
• DOT told towns if they don’t have the human infrastructure to set up a project, bidding , etc., DOT will assist them.
• Discretionary Fund: within the next week Feds will come up with and send guidelines on appropriations process for these funds. Some money may also be dedicated to a high speed corridor between LA and Las Vegas;

Question: Discretionary and competitive grant funds - can we get a report on the status of this project as well as the shovel ready? A lot is still up in the air, so this group is focusing on the shovel ready list.

Examples Unemployment Comp– 60 days for unemployment modernization
30 days to report on use of transportation uses
45 days to certify that the State will use funds to create jobs
and promote economic growth. (certification process)

Governor wants 25% to be green projects 50% of funds out within 180 days

Thinking of bringing on a ‘Clerk of the Works’ to monitor transparency and accountability that all requirements on all projects are met, and funds are being used appropriately (on time, in permit, where and when stated, green when needed)

Ann Gnazzo, who is now in Virginia is the Washington contact for us, knowing the process, CT and to interact down there. Julie Williams in the Governor’s office in Washington will assist, as well.

Expectations vs Hope:

City and Towns got their money for TIP projects and comes off the top, plus discretionary grants; Only state projects on the STIP list will be considered. We will be meeting weekly and the website will be up within a week for info. City/Town projects and State projects will be posted.

George Gallow from House Republicans entered

Matt on the website

Matt Fritz has designed a website which will be active next week to meet the Federal rules for transparency & accountability. Thank you to DOIT for their assistance. is the new website - Matt shared screen shots

• Expediting assistance – when a project runs into a problem, there will be a core group to monitor an online system. Ask for help, ticket system to route the problem to where it can be resolved so the funds can be spent on time and effectively.

• Accountability section

• Webpage will show by town what projects are on the shovel ready list (if a project is not listed on the website, feel free to contact Committee members)

• Today we’ll look at including state projects- (Highways, bridges, public transportation etc.)

Matt Fritz reported that he has met with DAS to prepare them for different contracts and the use of GSA contracts. Municipalities will also work with DAS.

Transparency – show what the funds are being used for on the website, to meet the Fed guidelines.

Issues: Core group will be meeting on a regular basis once the money is available.
Ticket systems will be used; funding opportunities; working w/agencies.

Energy, R&D, e-health, Broadband are on the table but the guidelines are not set. We must be positioned to advance on these projects, when it is possible to do so. Need to talk about goals.

‘Jobs Created’ is a benchmark of the stimulus money - 41,000 jobs are anticipated; We need to set up a process to collect this info from contractors. Jobs to be listed on the web?

DOT has begun talking to contractors trying to line them up for jobs. New England is small; there are only so many contractors and they will be busy soon with a very short season. They have also begun writing bids. We’ll be competing with RI, MA and NY

Still advertising but putting in a disclaimer that projects may be attached to Fed stimulus money. This enables us to get the most money possible by mobilizing projects fast.

Comment: No shortage of unemployed contractors waiting for work; engineers, etc. CT has a short construction season so really timely action is needed.

Question: Any thought to streamlining contractor process? Draft of legislation for permitting (shorten time for steps) to tighten that, for next week.

Question: Any effort to tie projects to areas with highest unemployment? Haven’t looked at yet, so shovel ready will take priority but now we’ll consider this too.

Question: Concern that out of state contractors will come in for this; can we add rules about adding local hiring and local contractor goals?

Question: Share a resource with the committee on funding and support sources? Yes send to committee leaders for sharing out

FYI Bonding Chairs meeting March 5 all day 10-4 at the same time as this committee is scheduled to meet.

Governor’s office is focusing on transparency and accountability while maximizing funds on all funding projects, and meeting all federal guidelines. Several workgroups are working concurrently on these efforts.

Next meeting tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 5th at 11 AM, location to be announced.

Content Last Modified on 3/9/2009 4:40:07 PM