Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Transportation Compromise Reached

This is good news:
Democratic legislative leaders and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Wednesday morning they have reached a deal on a 10-year, $2.3 billion transportation package that will not raise gas taxes or require tolls.
It includes money for a commuter rail line between New Haven and Springfield, Mass.; a study of a commuter line from New London to Worcester, Mass.; $45 million to expand Metro-North service from Norwalk to Danbury; and money to upgrade ports in Bridgeport, New London and New Haven.
Lawmakers next year plan to set aside another $2.2 million to $2.4 million for other projects, including highway construction, recommended by the state Transportation Strategy Board, he said. (AP)
You know what I don't see in there? That stupid busway! Then again, it could be in there, but the article may not mention it. Well, if it isn't there, maybe they could consider putting a rail line in instead.

I'm curious to see the full details of the plan, but it sounds like it focuses on mass transit and highway construction. The idea of a Worcester-New London commuter rail is interesting: that could be useful along the Thames River, especially.

I'm not sure that there's anything really innovative, here, but it will hopefully help alleviate some of our transportation problems.


"Lawmakers, Governor Reach Deal On Transportation Package." Associated Press 26 April, 2006.

10 comments: said...

GC- I could not agree more how ludicrous that busway is. Particularly when you consider that they decided that would be the best "test" of a busway in the Capitol area rather than the other plan, a busway that would go from Bradley directly to Union Station in Hartford and might actually generate some use.

Let's see, park at work, walk two blocks and take a natural gas powered bus to the airport for a few bucks...nah, that would never work.

goodbye said...

Giving ConnDOT more money to screw things up is always a mistake. If the guy that paints your house screws it up do you call him to come back and do more work? Rell should have dumped Korta and all othe top torqs on the DOT. I'm still waiting to see if Malloy or DeStefano are willing to bring in a new team and I'm not just talking about the patronage Commissioner jobs.

ctkeith said...

I sure hope that 2.2million to 2.4 million for next yr is a typo and was suppose to be billion considering how far 1 miilion goes in highway constuction.

Then Again...

stomv said...

Hopefully, they don't half-ass the commuter rail projects. It's critical to work hard at minimizing the mean travel time, as well as the variance (frequency of running late).

To do this, spending extra money straightening out track, getting full right-of-way (no crossings with roads), and getting permission to run fast is key. That, and making it cheaper than driving.

Hopefully these CT-MA lines will spread some wealth in CT into the non-Fairfield County part of the state, and help revive the smaller city economies in both states. It would be nice if CT would work closely with MA to make those lines really effective.

Is there any money in this budget to help with the Amtrak slowdown between New Haven and New Rochelle, NY? That part of the track on Acela saps so much time from the NYC - Hartford/Boston run. I don't know how jurisdictions work RE Amtrak and states, so this could be entirely off the mark.

disgruntled_republican said...


I can attest for the Springfield- Hartford portion that it is VERY WELL thought out. When I was a Town Councilman in Enfield, we met and worked with the folks who designed the line and most of it goes along the river to minimize the right of ways needed. It also a major station in Enfield with substation platforms in Windsor Locks and Windsor. If memory serves me there are other major stations planned for Newington and one other town which escapes me right now.

The impact of the rail line will go beyond transportation too. The train station in Enfield is the focal point for a major and much needed revitalization project from the river through the Thompsonville Village up to Route 5 and has already received major funding from the federal government as well.

I really am excited about this project and cant wait for it to get going.

CT Dem said...

yes the bus way's there...
go search for H.B. 5844
take a look at it. I like it.

stamfordpartisan said...

Red October - I agree with you about the phenomenal poor leadership and twisted culture at DOT. Since I believe that CT should invest a lot more in transportation, this pains me. Just last week some DOT official told the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce that they will never be able to do anything to fix the capacity problems - trains or highways - in SW CT. Not very optimistic, I guess.

Malloy has a great track record on capital investment and transportation in Stamford. The City Engineer, who I know, is a talented guy who keeps many large projects moving. Look at the Urban Transitway project, which is about to start construction. I suspect Gov. Malloy would probably want a DOT that actually functions, maybe even solves a few transportation problems.

goodbye said...

If you are from Stamford you may wish to check out what the southwest regionl planning agency has done to try and push congestion mitigating solutions; malloy and farrell are/were both members of SWRPA as municipal executives. What Malloy has done in Stamford has actually screwed the County transportation system with the latest screwjob being the RBS deal - but that was his job as Mayor of Stamford. If he he is governor and does what is best for the state like he did what was best for stamford maybe we have a chance.

Wolcottboy said...

There was once some men who saw a transportation problem. In a few years, they devised the first railroads.

There was once a President who drove in awe at Hitler's national highway system - and then planned and built one of his own - which is now hailed as one of one the greatest modern achievments.

There were men of flight and of steam power - that transformed how people moved. It would be nice to have some visionaries in Connecticut state government- that might only look outside their borders for solutions, or even devise some new ones of their own.

The Massachusetts line sounds better thuoght out than I originally thought (thankyou, Disgruntled). Yet, will this take the form of a heavy line like the shoreline, or a light rail like DC's Metro? (light is better for cost, ease of adding stations and has a focused route and plans for expansion)

Even with trains, you are left with the problem of getting people out of cars once they are in them.
Last week, the Hartford Currant ran a little traffic study on Rt. 4 in Farmington. I suppose the focus of the mid-state rail is to alleviate I-91. How about quaint trolleys or very light rail going on the Rt. 4's, Rt. 44's, and Rt. 10's of CT? Perhaps a monorail in New Haven connecting the colleges and downtown. The trolleys could replace busses and be more frequent. This would be a solution and impetus for growth on those peripheral lines.

stamfordpartisan said...

Red October - Stamford has been a whole lot better neighbor than Norwalk. Stamford has held out on Big Boxes except the downtown target(although there is a Home Depot going in on the Greenwich line). It's true that we do fill up the corridor with people going to work, but is that such a bad thing? I think our transportation systems should at least try to keep up with development that we need. Don't you think the state income taxes from the thousands of well-paid finance jobs in Stamford more than cover the costs of a more active approach to transportation down here?