HARTFORD — Today State Rep. David A. Scribner (R-107) joined Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as he signed three critical transportation-related bills into law that will make roads safer and reduce the cost of transportation infrastructure in Connecticut.
The first law, PA 13-277, is an omnibus package of policies, including a requirement that money in the Special Transportation Fund be used only for transportation purposes, such as road and bridge repairs. This comes after years of legislative Democrats sweeping the Special Transportation Fund to balance their bloated budgets, including this year when they raided $118 million from the fund.
“The continual robbing of transportation funding is a disservice to our citizens, who rely on bridge and road maintenance to keep them safe,” said Rep. Scribner, Ranking Member and longest serving leader of the Transportation Committee. “If residents have to pay higher-than-average gasoline taxes, they should receive higher-than-average quality of infrastructure, which has not been the case. I’m so proud of this effort to stop this dangerous and dishonest practice.”
Rep. Scribner noted that the July 1, 2015 effective date for the legislation was purposely set so that legislative Democrats and the Governor could continue their plans to sweep transportation funding again this year, which will now be used to pay for operating and other expenses.
The package also includes a provision to expand the ban on hand-held cell phone use while driving to include instances when a vehicle is temporarily stopped because of traffic or road conditions.
The second law, PA 13-271, is a policy that Rep. Scribner championed to bring harsher consequences to distracted driving offenders. The law increases violation fines, creates a first-in-the-nation system that allows offenses to affect the violator’s car insurance premium and creates a task force to analyze distracted driving prevention methods.
“Distracted driving has caused thousands of completely preventable – and many times fatal – car accidents, one of which occurred tragically in our area last year,” Rep. Scribner said. “These strong and effective measures will help address and deter this dangerous habit.”
The third law, PA 13-93, allows volunteer fire departments to conduct “fill-the-boot” fundraising drives on state highways, which was previously prohibited by state law.
“This law will remedy a previous policy that weakened the efforts of volunteer firefighters and was only enforced sporadically,” Rep. Scribner said. “Our volunteer fire departments are an invaluable lifeline within our communities, and should be given every opportunity to fundraise so they can better serve our families and keep us safe.”
The bill signings took place this afternoon in the Governor’s Office at the State Capitol.