Standing within earshot of the Moses Wheeler Bridge construction site Tuesday, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-3) rebuked House Republicans who she said are proposing cuts to the the current surface transportation bill, which expires at the end of March.
In front of a crowd of union workers, politicians and the general public, DeLauro said the House majority's bill would strip $335 million in federal infrastructure funding over the next five years -- and that's just in Connecticut.
"That is more than the total construction budget of the Moses Wheeler Bridge, which is approximately $300 million with 90 percent of it coming from federal funding," she said.
DeLauro said there is a proposal in the Senate that would increase transportation funding for the state by $10.1 million over the next two years. The congresswoman said that bill would make it easier for projects like Moses Wheeler Bridge to advance and remain on schedule.
The bridge that spans the Housatonic River and connects Stratford and Milford was built in 1958 and carries about 135,000 vehicles on Interstate 95 every day, according to the project's website. Construction began in September 2009 under a $52.2 million contract to build the foundations. That part of the project, Phase 1, was completed last November. Phase 2, which will maintain the existing six-lane highway and add four full-width shoulders, is expected to be completed in late 2016.
DeLauro said the bill proposed in the Senate would guarantee funding for the duration of the Moses Wheeler Bridge project, as well as many others in the state.
"Seventy-five percent of Connecticut's roads are in less than good condition," Don Shubert, president of Construction Industries Association, said. "Over 325 bridges in this state have been identified deficient."
"There's an additional 1700 bridges that were built in the 1950s, 1960s," Shubert said. "I'm as old as some of those bridges and I can tell you they're going to need repair pretty soon."