Rep. Carter Supports Amendment to Stop Busway, Fix Roads and Bridges

Rep. Carter Supports Amendment to Stop Busway, Fix Roads and Bridges

 

HARTFORD—Today State Representative Dan Carter (R-2) voted in favor of an amendment in the House of Representatives that would transfer state funds meant for the controversial New Britain to Hartford busway to instead go toward fixing rundown roads and bridges in the state.

The proposed 9.4 mile busway is estimated to cost a total of $567 million dollars, or about $1,000 an inch. The shared cost to each taxpayer in Connecticut is estimated to be $382.48 dollars if the project is built. Meanwhile, there are 1,800 bridges in Connecticut that are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

“$567 million would go a long way towards improving existing transportation infrastructure, which the DOT Commissioner has publicly stated is in desperate need of repairs and maintenance. It is irresponsible, in these troubled economic times, to throw such a large sum of money at a transportation source that will service so few and could instead help so many if it were reappropriated for bridge and road repairs.” Rep. Carter said.

The State’s Transportation Commissioner has echoed concerns:  Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker told the New Haven Register, “Bridge maintenance … is my nightmare,” and said that the state’s statistics on bridge maintenance are starting to look like they did before the Mianus River Bridge collapse. (Source: New Haven Register – January 20, 2012)

Proponents of the busway argue that the project should continue as it will create thousands of jobs for Connecticut construction workers and will relieve congestion on I-84. However, the largest contract worth $130 million was awarded to a Massachusetts company for the right to build a 5.8 mile stretch. Ridership is also expected to be relatively light, particularly considering many of the riders ride the existing bus route.

Rep. Carter added “The busway has been in the works for years, and was first envisioned at a time when the economic climate and demand warranted the investment. However, we are looking at a very different reality in the State of Connecticut, and I think it would be a disservice to residents to move forward with such a costly project that will do so little to improve our transportation system.” 

Mike Nicastro, President and CEO of Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce offered evidence that busways do not spur economic development around bus stations as proponents have claimed. He also pointed out that the largest contract was awarded to a Massachusetts firm sending jobs out of state.

“Recent data from independent analysts make it very clear that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) simply has not shown any efficacy in generating increases in land values and, in fact, has a negative impact,” Nicastro said. “As to jobs, while Middlesex Corp who has been awarded $130 million of the initial contract may hire some Connecticut workers it remains that the leadership and most of the project will benefit Massachusetts and not Connecticut.”

Recently, a number of New Britain homeowners living along the proposed 9.4 mile busway path, including Nicole James of Cottage Place, New Britain spoke out against the project saying, “The bus line will run behind our homes, taking away some of our backyards.”

Homeowners were not told of any compensation from the state for the taking of their property, and the promise of six foot noise barriers has now dwindled to a chain link fence.

The amendment failed in the house by a vote of 64 to 82. The groundbreaking for the busway has been scheduled for May 22nd.

Rep. Carter represents Bethel, Danbury and Redding

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Posted on May 14, 2012, in Home. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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