Photo of Senator Slossberg.

State Senator

Gayle Slossberg

Representing Milford, Orange, West Haven & Woodbridge

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Investing in Our Future

A Column in the Orange Times

There is a cloud of financial uncertainty hanging over our state. We can part this cloud by taking advantage of the strengths our state already has and investing in our best economic assets. To move our state forward we must think outside the box and come with better solutions than cutting spending or raising taxes. It is time to stop reusing old ideas and embrace a new concept.

There are numerous ways we could address our long-term financial problems by using our state’s assets wisely. A smart proposal could both ensure the long-term viability of our state pension plans and also modernize our transportation infrastructure. One idea is to monetize our rail system, allowing private investment while maintaining public ownership.

This will allow private investors to provide the capital needed to modernize the system, turning the current train ride from Stamford to New York into a short, thirty minute commute. Allowing private investors to fund these improvements will help our state improve this infrastructure without making taxpayers foot the bill. Besides the innate value of a modern rail system, this public-private partnership will allow the state to assume our rail lines as an asset that can be counted against our liabilities.

Connecticut’s unfunded pension liabilities are central to our state’s financial struggles. Decades of kicking the can down the road has brought us to where we are today. Placing the value of a modernized and monetized rail system into our underfunded pension systems would vastly reduce our overall unfunded liabilities. As a monetized asset holding tremendous future value, the rail lines will take the place of what otherwise would have been direct state payments. This will help us balance our books with fewer painful cuts and revenue increases.

By cutting down on the state’s unfunded liabilities, we will improve our bond rating and overall financial standing. This will allow us to make more investments in our infrastructure, and free up much-needed dollars to invest in other areas, such as education and our social safety net. Connecticut’s business community has long advocated for improvements in our state’s transportation infrastructure. Modernizing our roads, bridges and railways will help our current businesses grow and draw new ones to the state. A modern transportation system is of enormous value to our state economy, and by investing in the system and fully monetizing it’s value we will be able to end the climate of financial uncertainty and greatly improve our state economy. This is a concept worth considering. The state of Connecticut has many valuable assets. If this solution can work with our rail system, it can work with other assets, further improving our ability to use our state’s strengths to reduce the state’s unfunded liabilities and allow for more investments in our future.






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