Fairfield Lawmakers Blast DOT Fare Hikes

Fairfield lawmakers today issued the following statement regarding the state’s decision to hike rail and bus fares Dec. 1 despite vocal opposition from lawmakers and angry commuters:

Sen. Tony Hwang said, “This fare increase is just another tax on the backs of the working middle class in our state. This added financial burden comes with no additional infrastructure or rail service improvements, and that is unacceptable. It also comes on top of two record-setting tax hikes in five years. Combined with rate increases in utilities and health insurance, this fare increase might just be the last straw that breaks the back of Connecticut taxpayers. That truly is a shame, but I will say this: I was proud to stand alongside state lawmakers, tireless commuter advocates like Jim Cameron, and fed up taxpayers in opposition to this hike. We came together at the fare hike public hearing to send a clear message: No Fare Increases. Our unified, reasonable voice of opposition obviously was not heard by state transportation officials. That’s just terribly disappointing and frustrating, but it won’t deter us from re-doubling our efforts to be a strong, persistent voice for commuters and taxpayers. It will only motivate us to work harder in demanding that the people of Connecticut get heard.”

Rep. Laura Devlin said, “The decision to move ahead with these fare hikes without even acknowledging the opposition of a group of bipartisan legislators and the voices of almost 1,800 individuals these fares would hurt, is incredulous. This is the same arrogance we see in Hartford when it comes to discussing the state’s finances and budget. I can tell you the people I represent have had enough of the never-ending hits they are taking through tax hikes and fees. The majority party and Gov. Malloy need to stop balancing the budget on rosy revenue projections, then being forced to make ill-advised budget decisions when the revenue never ends up meeting what they say want to spend. Not including this increase, Metro North fare hikes have gone up over 20% in recent years with no tangible service improvements or infrastructure investments.”

Rep. Brenda Kupchick said, “We will not let this decision stand unchallenged, I and other legislators plan to propose legislation in January to repeal these rail fare hikes, the people of Fairfield and Southport deserve better than subpar rail service at a higher cost. The proposed fare increase is a direct result of the $37 million in cuts imposed on the DOT by the Malloy administration as part of the 2016-2017 revised state budget that was passed by majority legislators last May.”

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(photo) Fairfield Lawmakers Applaud $$ for Regional Fire School & Local Infrastructure

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Fairfield Lawmakers Applaud Funding for Regional Fire School & Local Infrastructure

Fairfield lawmakers today applauded the approval of state funding for local and regional projects which aim to improve public safety and bolster local infrastructure.

The State Bond Commission on Sep. 30 approved $500,000 for equipment for the renovation project at the Fairfield Regional Fire School and $750,000 for the replacement of 3,000 linear feet of sewer lines in Fairfield.

“I have witnessed firsthand the dangerous job our Fairfield firefighters undertake,” said Rep. Brenda Kupchick. “It is our job as legislators to make sure they receive the proper training. Today’s grant for the Fairfield Regional Fire School provides firefighters with a safe and modern facility to learn the skills we rely on them to deliver to protect our community.”

“The Fairfield Regional Fire School is essential to maintaining the public safety of every resident in the County,” said Rep. Laura Devlin. “As most volunteer and professional firefighters know, fire schools are instrumental in the training of firefighters and I have been very happy to have been a part of moving this matter forward.”

“This equipment for the Regional Fire School will help save lives in a crisis or disaster,” Sen. Tony Hwang said. “Updating our sewer infrastructure is also critical for Fairfield’s economic and community well-being. I weigh every bond item seriously against any budgetary constraints that state and local taxpayers are currently experiencing. Every taxpayer dollar is precious and must be treated as such. That said, I support these solid, long-term investments. They will positively impact our businesses and residents and make our communities safer.”
Attached photo:

At the Legislative Office Building Sep. 30, from left to right: Rep. Laura Devlin, Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey, Fairfield Fire Department Chief Denis McCarthy, Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau, Sen. Tony Hwang, Fairfield Fire Department Assistant Chief Chris Tracy, Rep. Brenda Kupchick

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Fairfield Legislators Support Sikorsky Package

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FAIRFIELD- State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) along with Reps. Brenda Kupchick and Laura Devlin (R-134) supported a legislative package to keep Sikorsky in Connecticut for another 16 years and shore up thousands of jobs for the region, including over one-hundred Sikorsky employees in the town of Fairfield.

The deal gives Sikorsky $220 million in grants and tax exemptions in exchange for building 200 new Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopters in-state. In return, Sikorsky will be required to expand their workforce to more than 8,000 workers by 2032, increase its capital spending in Connecticut by 22%, and more importantly, double their spending of $350 million per year with Connecticut-based suppliers.

According to the Fairfield legislators, the town of Fairfield has five of the Sikorsky supply-chain companies that will benefit from the CH-53K being built.

These supply-chain companies are the small- and medium-sized businesses that employ hundreds of highly skilled local residents in Fairfield.
Sen. Hwang said, “This deal will save thousands of good manufacturing jobs, keep Sikorsky in Stratford, and benefit scores of Connecticut small businesses in the vendor supply chain. However, it should also serve as a warning to every state lawmaker that the cost of doing business here is much too high. We’ve got to work to make our business climate less expensive and to make our state’s economic policies more predictable, more sustainable, and more transparent. We must get our state’s finances in order. We must lower taxes and eliminate regulations and red tape. Only then can we create the stable ecosystem that all businesses deserve.”

Rep. Devlin said, “Connecticut can NOT afford to bleed any more jobs, especially highly skilled manufacturing jobs. These Sikorsky employees and their families are part of our community and region. I proudly support keeping Sikorsky in Connecticut.”

“Costs for Sikorsky are double in Connecticut vs other states that put us in a situation that required the state to help level the playing field and keep an important company like Sikorsky. Connecticut can be a leader again if the legislature works together to address the structural changes to state government, the mounting debt and uncertainty that’s created an unattractive climate for business. This legislative action was about the saving the jobs of the men and women who work at Sikorsky and those who own and are employed at the supply chains companies across the state,” said Rep. Kupchick.

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Sen. Hwang: New Oct. 1 Law Cracks Down on School Threats

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Sen. Tony Hwang is raising awareness about a new state law effective Oct. 1 which makes threatening a school a much more serious crime.

Right now, calling in a bomb threat, or any kind of threat, to a school is a mere misdemeanor.

The new Oct. 1 law will change that, making such threats felonies which would result in a prison sentence.

“In the more than three years since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, more than 40 threats of violence have been made against schools in Connecticut,” Sen. Hwang said. “Many of those threats have been perpetrated by adults. These threats have become an epidemic, not only in Connecticut, but across the country. This new law sends a message that Connecticut has zero tolerance for school threats.”

In recent months, threats of violence have forced lockdowns of schools in Stamford, Hartford, Fairfield, West Haven and Bristol. Sen. Hwang noted that school lockdowns and evacuations can have lasting consequences on the children and adults who endure them.

The new law received overwhelming bipartisan support and was backed by local school superintendents, law enforcement officials, and parents.

* Sen. Hwang represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport. He can be reached at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov and at 800 842-1421. On the web: www.SenatorHwang.com

Attached photo: Sen. Hwang with Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, St. Rose of Lima School parent Maureen Reidy, and Rep. Mitch Bolinsky at a 2015 press conference calling for increased penalties for threats of violence against schools. The new law takes effect Oct. 1.

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