As part of our role to keep Ridgefielders informed of Hartford goings on, the Republican Town Committee is using this bi-weekly GOP View to presentthe following warning from State Senator Toni Boucher, Ranking Member of the Transportation Committee, about another power grab by the Democrats to take further control of decision-making in our community away from local town government and turning it over to politically appointed bureaucrats in Hartford. Sure smells like more regulations similar to the 8-30g Affordable Housing mandate our P&Z Commission is forced to live with, so be aware:
"Another misguided and costly bill has come back from the dead in the 2016 session.
This bill calls for the formation of a new quasi-public state agency to oversee development of projects within half a mile of train stations, bus stops, and any project undertaken in the Governor’s transportation investment plan. With your help, I fought this bill in 2015, and will fight it again in 2016.
In 2015, it was called An Act Establishing The Connecticut Transit Corridor Development Authority. It didn’t pass previously because it:
Authorized the state to use eminent domain to snatch properties from a municipality, private organization, or a person, within a half mile of all rail stations, bus stops, and surrounding any project undertaken in the Governor’s transportation investment plan.
Did not give the local municipalities’ officials a vote on what this new state Authority was doing in their city or town.
Did not require a memorandum of understanding to begin work on a project.
The voting members on the authority were all state political appointments.
The 2016 Transit Corridor Development Authority Bill brings several of these issues back.
The concept remains a slippery slope towards usurping local zoning authority. It empowers the governor to make the majority of board appointments to a new costly bureaucracy that will be able to steamroll through municipal development plans and priorities. This top-down government control is not what Connecticut wants or deserves.
Worse yet, while residents and businesses of Connecticut are continuing to tighten their belts in these hard economic times, the bill calls for spending our tax dollars on new government administrative positions.
As the majority party is already asking us to dig deeper and deeper into our pockets to fund an already bloated government, this spending is completely unnecessary.
Many towns already have economic development boards that know and understand local needs and already provide expertise in developing and overseeing projects. This previously killed bill that has now been resurrected includes the state oversight of areas within a half of a mile of the proposed transit zones. This expensive additional layer of state government is not called for, has not been asked for, and will only serve to increase budget deficits for years to come if passed.
Are you concerned about the State of Connecticut telling your town what to do and how to develop itself? If so, please join me in defeating this costly legislation by sending your testimony to the Chairs of the Planning and Development Committee firstname.lastname@example.org and copying me Toni.Boucher@cga.ct.gov.”