Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who Cares About the Sound License Plate Money?

This dude, who lives out in Norwich and writes for the Stonington Times, is wrong but he also makes an important point about funding for Long Island Sound and the Sound license plate fiasco that the Connecticut legislature has inflicted on the public, namely, if you can't get to the Sound, why should you care about it:

Point in fact, much of the Connecticut shoreline on the Long Island Sound is private property anyway, and even those with the special license plates can't have access to it. The only time the rest of us have anything to do with the shoreline is after hurricane season when someone is sought to help pay for repairs and rebuilding (usually on exactly the same spot where the damages all happened in the first place).

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Blogger Sam said...

Well if I lived in CT and needed to register my vehicle, I'd get one of those plates. I grew up there, and love the waters between Hamonassett and the The Race, know most of it like the back of my hand.

True, you don't have an "open beaches act" like other states, so access is pretty much restricted. I believe that by law, you can walk anywhere below the mean high water line, which is how we used to be able to fish for stripers.

But the fund was intended to help enhance and protect Long Island Sound, and on that aspect the local governments have a very mixed record. My take is that when I visit the area, having left in 1976, I can't believe how bad it has gotten.

But like many states, CT has "plum run out of money," perhaps not as bad as Rhode Island, but what are the first things to go when you're out of state finances? All the sudden Long Island Sound funding becomes a frill, an optional thing, perhaps even a source of revenue to balance education and healthcare costs.

One thing Texas did was to impose a hotel occupancy tax in coastal counties or cities that is solely dedicated to saltwater issues. That line item budget cannot be used for any other purpose. I think you might need something like that in order to be serious about protecting the Sound.

1:34 PM  

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