Lawmakers approve transportation and school construction projects

After a three-week break, state lawmakers returned to the Capitol Monday for yet another special session. During the session they approved transportation and school construction projects in bonding packages that total more than $700 million.Both the House and Senate were back in Hartford to tie up some loose ends left over from the summer-long battle over the budget. Despite the fact that there's less money available to go around than in the past because of the difficult budget year, lawmakers approved $784 million in bonding. The bonding includes 98 school projects both big and small amounting to $465 million. Twenty-eight of the projects are in southwestern Connecticut. Another $200 million will be bonded to maintain the sate highways, bridges and mass transit services. The money does not include improvements planned by the transporation strategy board.

State Senator Bob Genuario (R-Norwalk) says, "I think what people can essentially take from this is that in wrestling with all our financial difficulties we haven't backed off our goals."

In addition, $75 million of the bonding will be used to cover the deficit remaining from last year, which lawmakers had hoped to avoid. Speaker Moira Lyons (D-Stamford) says although she is not happy about it, the necessity to bond is a result of the lessening revenues the state has.

Lawmakers are expected to hold another session in October to discuss other projects.

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