A coalition of transportation, environmental, business and civic groups held a press conference in Hartford Monday, announcing a four-point platform for the ConnDOT Reform Commission to recommend to Governor Rell. The Reform Commission, set up by the Governor in April of this year to review the structure and operation of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) and expand its focus “beyond highways,” is expected to release its recommendations in December (see MTR # 560).
Joining the Tri-State Campaign were the Connecticut Citizens Transportation Lobby, 1000 Friends of Connecticut, the Business Council of Fairfield County, Connecticut Fund for the Environment, CT Sierra Club, CT League of Conservation Voters, Partnership for Stronger Communities, and the National Corridors Initiative. State Sen. John McKinney (R-28) and State Reps. David McCluskey (D-West Hartford) and Tom Kehoe (D-Glastonbury) were also present to support the groups’ message.
The coalition called for the ConnDOT Reform Commission to include the below agenda below in its recommendations to Governor Rell:
- Broaden the mission of ConnDOT staff by incorporating smart growth concepts into design, development, and implementation of transportation projects, while additionally targeting state dollars towards municipalities that are open to such ideas.
- Invest in existing road and bridge infrastructure, and adopt a strategy that focuses on reducing vehicle-miles traveled. Move away from large and expensive highway expansion projects that fail to solve long-term congestion problems.
- Consider innovative methods of raising transportation dollars, such as roadway pricing and high-occupancy toll lanes.
- Speed implementation of priority transit projects.
“Governor Rell wants to be a leader on smart growth and transit-oriented development,” said Kate Slevin, Tri-State Campaign executive director. “The ConnDOT Reform Commission’s recommendations should reflect that.”