The following statement was signed by Hartford Mayor Eddie A. Perez, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy and New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.
Congress faces a critical choice as it rushes to create a stimulus package that will rebuild public confidence in our economy. Should it direct funding for road projects through such state agencies as the Connecticut Department of Transportation? Or through Connecticut's largest cities, which are prepared to proceed with projects that create jobs?
The choice is clear: Money sent directly to cities will not only put more people to work, but will shore up the crucial role they play as economic drivers and employment centers.
As we speak, major construction projects in Connecticut's cities stand ready to commence:
In North Hartford, the $80 million public safety complex will provide hundreds of jobs and spur development and economic investment in an area north of I-84 long considered a no-man's-land.
In New Haven, the $7 million Quinnipiac Avenue reconstruction and traffic-calming project will enhance the neighborhood and create jobs.
In Bridgeport, the $50 million rehabilitation of the Congress Street Bridge will generate 440 jobs.
In Stamford, the $50 million biomass gasification energy production project will generate much-needed electricity with no carbon emissions.
These are just a few examples of the more than $1 billion in shovel-ready projects that are ready to begin immediately in Connecticut's cities. Projects in these communities will generate thousands of jobs and have a multiplier effect by strengthening the economic fabric of communities that provide the employment base for our state.
Since 2000, the Bush administration has significantly reduced federal resources for cities. Critical projects have been designed but lack funding including many "green" projects that will reduce the carbon footprint of public buildings and schools.
The state does also have critical needs in road construction. But laying asphalt although that is important and should be pursued should not take precedence over projects that create more jobs, generate tangible economic synergy and reduce our carbon footprint.
Congress should act to make President-elect Barack Obama's pledge to generate 2.5 million jobs by 2010 a reality. The best way is by directing funding to the cities, where it will generate real jobs and provide a highly visible and sorely needed boost of confidence to our economy.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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