New Haven has the ear of the gatekeeper in Washington, D.C. for doling out “earmarks.” Now it has a scorecard to monitor what that means in dollars and cents.
That gatekeeper is New Haven U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-2nd District.
DeLauro ascended this year to the powerful chair of the House Appropriations Committee. The expectation here at home was that her new role could mean more federal aid to the city and region.
DeLauro has now listed the specifics of what that increased aid could look like in coming months for local projects. (She already had a victory in an 18-year quest to expand the federal child tax credit.)
One of DeLauro’s first major moves as committee chair was to oversee the resumption of “earmarks” in the appropriation process: specific requests members of Congress make for funding for projects in their district when major bills are under consideration. DeLauro instituted new rules for earmarks to address concerns about how members abused the process in the past, funneling money secretly to boondoggles or projects in which they may have personal stakes.
She also gave earmarks an official name: “community projects.”
Members of Congress get to submit up to 10 “community projects”/ earmarks. DeLauro has released a personal list of 10 requests for the Third U.S. Congressional District. Three would be for New Haven: To support the proposed Community Crisis Response Team for emergency calls that might benefit from someone other than a cop showing up; a joint New Haven Public Schools-Gateway Community College manufacturing engineering program; and rebuilding rec facilities at St. Martin de Porres Academy.
The 10 requests overall can serve as a scorecard in coming months for how New Haven’s increased influence in Congress translates into federal aid.
The following is a list of all 10 district requests, from a release from DeLauro’s office:
City of Ansonia
This project will provide funding for the reconstruction of an essential access bridge to the former Ansonia Copper & Brass industrial complex. This bridge would restore critical access to the 50-acre parcel, one of the largest industrially zoned parcels in the Naugatuck Valley.
City of Middletown
This project will provide funding to modernize building infrastructure at R.M. Keating Historical Enterprise Park. This modernization will turn unusable, empty space into new, leasable space for small businesses and create space for entrepreneurial support programs within the community.
City of New Haven
This project will provide funding for the implementation of the New Haven Community Crisis Response Team. This mobile crisis team program will be integrated into the existing 911 and non-emergency dispatch system and the human services network within the region.
New Haven Public Schools
This project will provide funding for New Haven Public Schools to introduce and implement a manufacturing program through a partnership with local universities and community colleges and industry leaders to fill the entry level technical positions in the manufacturing sector. The program will give students a unique opportunity to earn an industry-recognized, two-year associate’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from Gateway Community College, along with their high school diploma within a six-year experience.
Sterling House Community Center
This project will provide funding for facility improvements to replace a 135-year-old tile roof, gutter system, and other deteriorating areas of the building’s exterior at the Sterling House Community Center. These improvements will support Sterling House as Stratford’s largest Food Pantry and social service agency whose programs include pre-school, afterschool, summer day camp, and many other community services.
St. Martin de Porres Academy
This project will provide funding for recreational facilities renewal at St. Martin de Porres Academy. These recreational facilities include building a safer basketball court away from the parking lot where there are some potential safety issues and building a field suitable for students to play various sports including soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey. This development will strengthen the overall Hill neighborhood section of New Haven and contribute to the health, development, and well-being of students at St. Martin de Porres Academy.
Town of Branford
This project will provide funding for the full reconstruction of the East Industrial Road in Branford, from Leetes Island Road to the southbound Interstate 95 exit ramps (0.35 miles). Regionally, this project is vital to economic development and growth and will serve the towns of Branford, Guilford, North Branford, and beyond. The full reconstruction will provide access to a large supermarket, numerous restaurants, retailers, breweries and vineyards, the local YMCA, farms, medical facilities, manufacturing and biotech facilities, distribution hubs, hotels, local shellfish processing facilities, public trails, and the Stony Creek Quarry featuring their distinctive pink granite.
Town of Durham
The project will provide funding for the expansion of public water to supply clean drinking water to a contaminated area via an interlocal agreement between the Town of Durham and the City of Middletown. For decades, properties in the center of Durham were polluted by toxic chemicals requiring filtering and monitoring. By providing clean, safe, and reliable drinking water, this project will protect the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors within the region.
Town of North Branford
This project will provide funding for an updated, state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center for the Town of North Branford, which currently operates with outdated and vintage 1970’s technology. These new resources will translate into greater capabilities, better response and recovery coordination, and a more resilient community.
Wallingford Housing Authority
This project will provide funding for the interior and exterior renovation of 2 Wharton Brook Drive, including kitchen and bathroom replacements, flooring, windows, and heating/cooling units as well as exterior components including roof, siding, entry/exit doors, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant entrances and walkways, and revitalization improvements. These improvements will further build a sustainable and prosperous community where residents enjoy a clean, safe, and comfortable living environment.
Additional information on Community Project Funding and the ten projects selected by DeLauro, as well as copies of required financial disclosures, is available here.
Additional information on DeLauro’s reforms governing Community Project Funding is available here.