On November 17, 2023, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont hosted local officials and infrastructure stakeholders from around Connecticut to discuss implementation of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA). Representatives from various state agencies were on hand to share insights, and the Governor led a panel focused on Connecticut’s economic and community growth and revitalization. The event also featured a regional discussion with Governor-appointed Infrastructure Coordinators from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island.
Mark Boughton, Senior Advisor to the Governor on Infrastructure and Revenue Services Commissioner, emceed the meeting, and after welcoming the group, invited U.S. Senator Chris Murphy to provide remarks. Senator Murphy spoke of the bipartisan nature of the IIJA and stressed the importance of moving quickly to ensure residents could fully benefit from the legislation’s massive potential.
Governor Lamont then surveyed the depth and breadth of transformational investments his administration has made in Connecticut during his tenure. He pointed to Connecticut’s leading school system and proximity to major employment centers as part of the bedrock that makes the state so attractive to live and work. At the same time, investments in housing, economic development and infrastructure present the keys to securing the state’s future as a vibrant and inclusive community.
The Governor set the theme of the day around creating a vision for Connecticut’s future in 2035. After walking through several recent investments, he turned to Daniel O’Keefe and Seila Mosquera – Commissioners of the Departments of Economic Development and Housing, respectively – to talk about how their agencies were carrying out their mission and connecting with residents and businesses in the community. Importantly, local governments have a leading role, as articulated by Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti. Developers and investors also participated, highlighting the need for collaborative public private partnerships. Governor Lamont and the panel highlighted impressive ways that state, local and private sector partners are working together to reinvent the physical spaces in Connecticut communities.
Next, Connecticut Consumer Counsel Clair Coleman led a discussion of how infrastructure investments will construct the state’s 2035 vision. Deputy Commissioners from the Departments of Transportation and Energy & Environmental Protection spoke about how their agencies are approaching the opportunities in IIJA and how local government officials can get involved. National design and infrastructure firm HNTB provided insights on the latest trends in transportation planning and investment, and Connecticut Water was on hand to talk about the importance of water to Connecticut’s infrastructure investments. All panelists agreed that the IIJA presents a “moment in time” for investments across infrastructure sectors to come together and make an impact on the community.
The day closed with a Northeast regional discussion featuring Governors’ Infrastructure Coordinators from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. Connecticut’s Mark Boughton laid out the approach the CTBILT office is taking to organize stakeholders. New York’s Minelly De Coo shred insights from her career delivering resilient infrastructure in New York City and how the IIJA represents a transformational time to invest with climate impacts in mind. Rhode Island’s Chris Farrell highlighted his state’s “Partnership for Rhode Island,” which worked with industry leaders to create CompeteRI, a public-private partnership aimed at galvanizing state, local and private sector support to compete for and execute projects under IIJA discretionary grants. Quentin Palfrey from Massachusetts tied his approach – and the overall discussion – together around equity, climate and workforce to advance infrastructure region-wide. Each of the Infrastructure Coordinators shared how they are working with each other – either through cooperative procurement agreements for offshore wind or through transportation megaprojects – to advance infrastructure investments across the Northeast.
To follow NGA’s ongoing activities and support for infrastructure implementation, please visit: https://www.nga.org/bestpractices/infrastructure/