Gov. Lamont names new transportation commissioner at critical time

Deputy DOT Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto, who previously worked for Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sen. Joe Lieberman, will replace Giulietti.

John Craven

Nov 23, 2022, 10:20 PM

Updated 571 days ago


As travelers hit Connecticut’s roads and rails for Thanksgiving, state Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti announced Wednesday he will retire at the end of Gov. Ned Lamont's first term in January. Deputy DOT Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto, who previously worked for Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sen. Joe Lieberman, will replace Giulietti.
"I am extremely thankful to the governor for offering me this opportunity, because it has been the opportunity of a lifetime,” Giulietti told reporters at Hartford’s Union Station.
Eucalitto takes over at a critical time. Connecticut is receiving $5.3 billion from the new federal infrastructure law, and the state could win up to $100 billion more in competitive grants.
The money will fast-track bridge and highway projects, including:
• I-95:
o Bridge replacement in Stamford
o Extra southbound lane between Stamford and Greenwich
o Extra northbound lane near U.S. 7 in Norwalk
• I-84:
o 5 miles of new lanes in Danbury
• I-91:
o Wider exit ramp onto the Wilbur Cross Parkway
Speeding up rail service was a priority for Giulietti, who served as president of Metro-North Railroad from 2014-2017. Eucalitto said Norwalk's long troubled Walk Bridge will finally be replaced this coming spring.
"The main hold back on speeding up the traffic is going to be the moveable bridges and what are called the under-grade bridges, which are the fixed bridges,” he said.
Eucalitto pledged that one thing is not coming to Connecticut -- tolls.
"No, I don't think so,” he said.
Giulietti became the public face of Lamont’s failed push to bring tolls to Connecticut. Instead, lawmakers approved a controversial “highway use fee” for larger trucks. It starts in January and could raise $90 million a year.
Critics say the fee will be difficult to collect and could raise the cost of goods – right when inflation is at record highs.
"Those things that we can control, we really need to control and make sure that we don't add more burden to Connecticut's taxpayers,” said state Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), the top Republican in the Connecticut Senate.
But Lamont said mostly out-of-state trucks, which cause most of the damage to Connecticut highways, will pay.
“They pay a highway user fee of $100 just to go across the George Washington Bridge, so they can contribute a little bit to our roads and bridges here in Connecticut,” said Lamont.
Lamont added that Connecticut needs a dedicated revenue stream to qualify for tens of billions in federal highway grants.
“Shame on us we don’t have the resources to take advantage of that,” Lamont said of the additional federal funding. “I’m leveraging that money four, five to one.”
Several key members of the Lamont administration are not returning for his second term, which is typical during a transition. Economic Development Commissioner David Lehman is also departing, along with Chief of Staff Paul Mounds and General Counsel Nora Dannehy.

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