Hoping to build upon last year’s Complete Streets victory, advocates and legislators urged members of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee today to enact two pieces of legislation that would improve safety for Connecticut’s pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.
The first bill (HB 5386) would designate 10% of existing flexible federal funding sources — specifically, the Highway Safety Improvement Program, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, and National Highway Safety 402 Funds — to create a competitive grant program for municipal projects that would improve bicycle, pedestrian and transit access infrastructure. The grant program would utilize these existing funding sources, requiring no new revenue, to increase ConnDOT’s emphasis on walking and cycling safety.
According to Tri-State’s recent report Tracking the Dollars, ConnDOT still woefully underfunds bicycle and pedestrian projects, spending only $1.67 in federal funds per person on these projects. While this is an increase over previous years, the state still lags behind neighboring Rhode Island ($6.12) and states with comparable populations like Iowa ($3.92). Between 2006 and 2008, 122 pedestrians and cyclists were killed on Connecticut’s roadways.
A second bill (SB 345) would allow local municipalities to create red light camera pilot programs. It is similar to a 2009 bill to allow New Haven to start such a program, but would apply statewide. The current bill is being supported by the Connecticut Livable Streets Campaign.
While the public hearing on these two raised bills took place today in Hartford, Connecticut readers can contact members of the Transportation Committee to support this important legislation.