First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice warned the Board of Selectmen Feb. 20 that the state’s transportation funding woes have already hit Wilton in the pocket, in the form of a postponement in $150,000 worth of road paving dollars.
Going forward into the next fiscal year, for which a budget is being prepared now, it could cause complications, as the town leaders cannot be certain the $300,000 in road paving funding will be forthcoming.
If the state does not get new revenue for its transportation funds, there would be a reduction of service on the Metro-North Danbury line.
Vanderslice attended a meeting last week of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments, held at the RVNA in Ridgefield with state Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker.
He said the DOT is facing a $60-million budget shortfall for bus and rail.
“He did say it would be devastating,” Vanderslice said.
Service on the Danbury branch line, which includes the Cannondale and Wilton stations, would be cut back to only morning and afternoon peak trains heading in and out of New York City’s Grand Central Terminal.
Off-peak train service, including weekend trains to and from New York, would be eliminated.
Selectman Deborah McFadden expressed fear of what would happen to Wilton under those circumstances.
“Losing the Danbury line would impact people’s decision to live in this community. It would devastate us,” McFadden said.
The state government is looking to raise revenue for the transportation fund through tolls, which the state has not had since the early 1980s, and possibly by increasing the amount of property tax, from 70% of valuation to 80% of valuation, and taking that extra money for the transportation fund.