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State Looks To Financing To Create Lasting Jobs

JOSH KOVNER

October 25, 2009

HARTFORD - With the hope of creating more long-term jobs, the state is offering $225 million in low-interest financing for public and private projects that focus on cleaning up contaminated sites, transit-related construction and economic development.

The money to keep the interest rates low comes from the federal stimulus program which in Connecticut has been used mostly to shore up state and local budgets. As a result, more jobs have been preserved than created.

"The hope is that this financing enables shovel-ready projects that will boost job creation,'' said Karin Lawrence, a senior vice president at the Connecticut Development Authority.

Seven months into the federal stimulus program in Connecticut, the vast majority of public projects have involved road, bridge and infrastructure work. However, this new financing can be used for building construction as long as the project meshes with local and state development plans and creates jobs, said Matthew Fritz, the point person on the stimulus program in Gov. M. Jodi Rell's office.

Rell said in a statement that the goal is to jump-start "worthwhile projects.''

Sixty-two communities essentially, the 17 cities and all the other towns that are in entitlement, enterprise or distressed-municipality zones are eligible to apply to the CDA for the $90 million set aside for public projects.

Private developers with projects that meet the criteria may apply for the remaining $135 million in financing.

When Lawrence says "shovel-ready,'' she means it. The money must be committed by the end of next year.

"Unless you are really ready to go, you are not going to meet the deadline,'' Lawrence said.

That means engineering work, zoning approvals, permits, financing and lines of credit have to be in place, she said.

Applications and program criteria are available at ctcda.com, under ARRA Recovery Zone Bond Program.

Under a federal formula, funding has been allocated to the state's largest cities as follows: Bridgeport, $4 million; Hartford, $1 million; New Haven, $2.24 million; Stamford, $4.42 million; and Waterbury, $5.38 million.

The county breakdown is as follows: Fairfield, $26 million; Hartford, $9.9 million; Litchfield, $1.7 million; Middlesex, $2.7 million; New Haven, $18.7 million; New London, $6.4 million; Tolland, $1.9 million; and Windham, $4.4 million.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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