What Can We Learn about Updating Infrastructure from the Nutmeg State? By Curtis Battles

{3:45 minutes to read} One of the key obstacles Connecticut faces is that its economy has been growing very slowly over the past decade. Furthermore, corporations, business owners, and entrepreneurs feel it is very expensive to maintain their operations here. A number of challenges come with keeping a business in Connecticut including: budget deficits, excess regulation and crumbling infrastructure. Major investments are required in order to make the Nutmeg State an attractive place for business long-term.

How can major improvements be made to the entire state? What are the first steps required?

The Business Council of Fairfield County (BCFC), a nonprofit corporation founded in 1970, is working hard to answer those questions and find solutions. BCFC mobilizes leaders in all sectors to discuss issues critical to the region’s viability. A couple of years ago, they estimated that between $75-$85 billion dollars must be invested in Fairfield County, over the next 20 years in these areas:

  • Energy grid
  • Broadband backbone
  • Water quality
  • Transportation network
  • Community development

A major strength for Connecticut is the caliber of its educational institutions – both public and private. However, due to rising costs, all of our great universities are net exporters of talent. People grow up here or attend a university here, but they leave because they say the cost of living is too expensive.

Moreover, the unemployment rate has dropped from 9.3% in 2010 to 6.3% in January of this year. Unfortunately, job growth is less than 1% a year, one of the lowest in the nation. This has resulted in slow growth in tax revenues, leading to ongoing budget deficit. If growth continues at a slow rate, the ability to deliver services and maintain infrastructure is compromised. For example:

  • 34% of the state’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete;
  • 45% of major roads are in poor or mediocre conditions; and
  • 58% of the state highways are congested.

Recently, Governor Malloy announced a $100 billion investment in the Connecticut transportation system over the next 30 years. Included in that is a high-speed commuter rail between Hartford and Stamford. That has garnered a lot of attention from folks both inside and outside the state.

Making it easier for people to get around would make a huge difference in the long-term vision for the state, its growth, and its residency. What is the most important investment your state government can make to boost growth and propel change? What do you see happening in your local community supporting that vision?

Contact me today with your feedback!

Curtis C. Battles

203-461-8711

ccbattles@newcanaanadvisors.com

www.newcanaanadvisors.com