State Touts Five-Year Plan to Transform Transportation
One of Connecticut’s weakest competitive links has been its aging transportation infrastructure, but Gov. Malloy this week highlighted several major projects in the works designed to strengthen the state’s highways, bridges, rails —and economy.
The projects, part of the state Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 2014-2018 capital infrastructure program, comprise an “ambitious five-year plan … [to] continue upgrading and strengthening our transportation infrastructure well into the future,” said the governor.
Included in the plan is about $345 million for bus and rail upgrades and $1.4 billion to improve highways and bridges.
According to state DOT Commissioner James Redeker, the state has plans to invest millions in the New Haven commuter rail line and on the Hartford-Springfield rail corridor that’s projected to offer expanded intercity commuter service in 2016.
Also planned are projects to add a third lane in each direction on I-84 in Waterbury, rehabilitate the Merritt Parkway in Stamford, replace the Moses Wheeler Bridge in Stratford, and improve I-95 in Norwalk.
The projects, said the governor, will boost economic development, improve daily commutes, and create thousands of construction jobs.
State lawmakers are now deliberating over the governor’s proposed revisions to the fiscal year 2015 budget, which includes adding 75 engineers to DOT staff and restoring $380 million from the state’s General Fund to the Special Transportation Fund.
In addition, Connecticut has applied for $600 million in federal transportation funding to help cover the capital costs of three resiliency, or “hardening,” projects vital to the Metro-North commuter rail system.
One of the most critical factors businesses weigh when deciding where to locate is a state’s transportation infrastructure. As the state strives to be one of the best in which to do business, these investments will be critical to connecting our businesses and economy with regional, national and global markets.
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