Compared with several previous sessions in which lawmakers approved major investments in Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure, this year was quiet in the area of transportation.

One proposal CBIA supported would have reconstituted the Bradley International Airport board of directors and given the board broader authority to execute contracts and hire executive management. SB-154, which passed the Senate but unfortunately was never called for a vote in the House, also would have established a Bradley economic development zone covering portions of three towns. CBIA hopes the House transportation leadership will move the bill forward to passage next year.

To toll?
Also during the session, the state’s Transportation Strategy Board held public hearings to gauge how residents would respond to electronic tolls on some Connecticut highways. However, the board postponed making a recommendation to the General Assembly on reviving the tolls, requesting more time to study the issue.

This fall, Congress is scheduled to reauthorize the six-year federal transportation funding bill that could have significant new incentives for mass transit development and possibly more flexibility for states regarding the use of tolling revenues.

Stimulus funds
Meanwhile, the state received federal stimulus funds for highway-related transportation projects in Connecticut. The governor’s office identified where the roughly $200 million in funds will go and over the next year, an additional $90 million will be allocated for regional transportation priorities identified by various regional planning groups.
Of the $200 million targeting statewide projects, roughly 70% will be used for two major initiatives:
• Merritt Parkway safety improvements, resurfacing and bridge improvements
• Route 1 Amtrak bridge reconstruction in Branford
The full list of approved projects is available at www.recovery.ct.gov.

For more information about transportation issues, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown at 860-244-1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.