Businesses Participate in DOT ‘Visioning’
What should be Connecticut’s long-term vision for transportation? That’s what the state Department of Transportation (DOT) invited businesses to weigh in on during a recent focus group.
DOT is holding a series of public meetings, focus groups, and surveys to engage businesses, elected officials, and advocacy groups in Gov. Malloy’s “Transform CT” initiative.
At the most recent business focus group, employers from the trucking industry, chambers of commerce, manufacturing, and construction all agreed that one of the biggest threats facing businesses in the state is traffic congestion, particularly along I-95, I-84 and I-91.
Businesses say congestion increases their costs by limiting their areas of service, delaying the movement of goods, limiting their workforce’s living options, and straining employees’ ability to make it to work on time.
Congestion in the I-95 corridor is so severe, say employers, that it’s cutting down on the flow of commerce from New York and the rest of the country into Connecticut and the Northeast.
Participants also noted how hard it is to solve the congestion problem. Expanding commuter and freight rail lines in the state, for example, would help considerably but wouldn’t come close to meeting the capacity needs unless highways were expanded as well.
These are extremely expensive solutions, and transportation dollars will continue to be in short supply for the foreseeable future. Even if the state’s Special Transportation Fund was used exclusively for transportation projects (and not diverted elsewhere), DOT would still have to find additional sources of funding.
DOT is providing more opportunities for businesses to comment on the future of Connecticut’s transportation system. Those interested can submit written comments at any time by visiting www.transformct.org. And DOT will host three open meetings at the end of February:
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 6-8pm
The Lyceum Resource & Conference Center
227 Lawrence Street, Hartford
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7-9pm
Housatonic Community College
Beacon Hall Events Center
700 Lafayette Street, Bridgeport
Thursday, Feb. 27, 6-8pm
63 Huntington Street, New London
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