NORWALK, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Malloy is defending himself tonight against suggestions he has waited too long to take steps to replace the 118-year-old bridge in Norwalk that has now twice caused major disruptions during commuting hours.
The charges come from Senate Minority Leader John McKinney of Fairfield, one of the three Republicans seeking to run against Malloy in the fall.
“If the governor was on top of this when he was first elected, he would have already had a plan to fix it,” said McKinney. “He’s been in office over three years and we’re now just hearing that he’s going to seek federal money to fix the bridge.”
Malloy says that’s wrong; he made the application long ago.
“The reality is that the bridge replacement was studied in 2007 and 2008, when people realized the enormity of the project they walked away from it,” the governor said. “As soon as I was in office in 2011, we went back to that project.”
Going into campaign mode, Malloy is counter-attacking McKinney on the issue.
“Senator McKinney has some explaining to do to his constituents and he’d rather deflect any attention because he served in the legislature when an administration that he supported walked away from this project,” the governor said.
But McKinney rightly points to the decision to acquire 405 new rail cars and rebuild the New Haven rail yard as major upgrades to the transportation system that he helped get passed in the legislature before Malloy took office.
“The fact of the matter is that I haven’t been in the majority,” McKinney said. “Governor Malloy’s Democrats have controlled what we spend on transportation, along with Governor Rell and Governor Malloy.”
Both the governor and McKinney did agree on one thing: they support Senator Blumenthal’s call to the Coast Guard to further restrict the times the bridge can be opened until it can be replaced.