To the Editor:

I recently attended Connecticut in the Capitol, a forum sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

It was a great opportunity to describe how what happens in Washington has an impact on us in New Milford.

For instance, the Manufacturing for the Future forum dovetailed well with our efforts to clean and develop the Century Brass site with light industries that can make use of the rail running through the property. In addition, I have been working with MedInstill to attract a pharmaceutical company to its campus as a partner to the technology MedInstill is developing.

I have asked our Connecticut delegation to support our push for next-generation manufacturing in New Milford.

The issues surrounding the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act were particularly stark as New Milford and other communities try to address the opioid epidemic.

The ACA expanded medical coverage to help treat addiction and mental health issues through the expansion of Medicaid. The loss of such coverage would have a profound impact on the treatment and therapy our local citizens rely upon.

Untreated opioid addicts and their families’ suffering threaten to tear the fabric of our community. Our Connecticut delegation is working hard on solutions.

The transportation and infrastructure forum discussed federal efforts to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

The American Society of Civil Engineers “report card” gives the nation’s roads a “D,” something we can all relate to in New Milford and Connecticut in general.

I emphasized that in New Milford our roads have been crumbling for the past 20 years and we are starting to implement plans to address them.

We have a list of roads we know need to be worked on, but when I recently suggested with road committee members to spend the financed $2.1 million on Squire Hill Road 1 and 2 and Long Mountain Road, I was surprised to learn that although those and other roads are listed in our Capital Plan, none of the design work has been done.

Without the design work, the projects cannot be bid.

So we will spend the $2.1 million on the shovel-ready road projects outlined by Public Works.

I have allocated over $200,000 in unspent road funds left over from the prior administration for the design work necessary to rehabilitate Squire Hill and Long Mountain. The design work is expected to take four months and I expect construction in the spring.

Furthermore, I am instructing Public Works to prepare the design work for future road projects so that when funds become available we can immediately go out to bid. In the end, though, federal support will be necessary for New Milford and our region to address the bridge and road infrastructure issues we face.

With Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty acting as the vice chair of the House Transportation Committee, I will keep this as well as the passenger rail proposal front and center with our Connecticut delegation.

With so much happening in Hartford and Washington, D.C., New Milford cannot afford to sit on the sidelines anymore. We are the commercial, population and cultural hub for the Northwest Hills.

I will continue to advocate for New Milford and its rightful share of funding and infrastructure opportunities at both the federal and state levels.

Mayor David

Gronbach

New Milford