Connecticut’s Potential Governors Weigh in on Transportation

Survey responses are available on TSTC's website. Click to read.

In advance of tomorrow’s Republican and Democratic primary in Connecticut, and with the Connecticut DOT and transportation funding facing an uncertain future, Tri-State issued a questionnaire to the major parties’ gubernatorial candidates to dig deeper into their views on transportation issues.

Candidates touched on what the state’s investment priorities should be, the relationship between land use and transportation, how to expand transit, how to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and how to fund the state’s transportation network.

Full responses from Republicans Michael Fedele and Tom Foley, and Democrat Ned Lamont, are available on TSTC’s website.

Below the jump are highlights from the three candidate questionnaires Tri-State received:

Michael Fedele (R)

On fix-it-first: “Making sure that we make our existing highway system as safe and efficient as possible should be the first priority. Safety and efficiency improvements and expansion within the footprint of existing roads is the best way to improve our highway system, particularly in a highly developed state like Connecticut where it is difficult to construct new roadways. Projects like “speed lanes” on I-95 are an example of increasing safety, efficiency and capacity without costly new construction.”

On transit: “I support and would continue the significant investments already begun in our rail lines, rail stations, rail parking and bus service. We cannot wait 30 years between major investments in public transportation, as was done on the New Haven line. I support the New Haven to Hartford to Springfield line and I believe we should ensure connecting service to Bradley airport. We need to continue the infrastructure investments to our rail lines, include signalization and catenary projects.”

His overall priorities: “To keep our existing highway and bridge infrastructure in a state of good repair (Fix-it-First), to expand our roadways within existing transportation corridors where feasible, to ensure a stable funding stream for road, rail and other public transportation investments, to realize the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line and other rail infrastructure improvements, to achieve the full potential of Bradley airport and our other air and sea ports.”

Fedele said he would support a vulnerable users law that would protect pedestrians, cyclists, and first responders by enhancing penalties for careless driving. He opposed most tolls, but said the state should study converting carpool lanes to high-occupancy toll lanes which solo drivers could pay to enter. He would support greater investment in bike and pedestrian infrastructure through a “Safe Routes to Transit” or “Safe Routes for Seniors” program. Fedele was unsure about red light cameras, and said further study was needed.

Tom Foley (R)

On transportation funding: “Unlike some of my opponents, I do not believe tolls are the answer. We do not have a revenue problem in our state, we have a spending problem.  Our state already has a plan to make the Transportation Fund solvent, but we have a lack of leadership in our state to stop the Transportation Fund from being raided by the legislature to pay for General Fund spending.”

On transportation and land use: “My administration will work closely with towns and communities to develop infrastructure plans that make sense. Local control is one of the hallmarks of Connecticut government and the neighbors of potential infrastructure development should certainly have their say before permitting is allowed.”

His overall priorities: “As Governor, my transportation priority will be to develop a strategy, plan, and funding priorities. We have a critical need to invest properly in our transportation infrastructure to help grow jobs in this state.”

Foley did not take a position on vulnerable users legislation. He said he did not know whether Connecticut could afford to pay for a Safe Routes to Transit/Safe Routes for Seniors program. He did not know whether red light cameras were right for the state, and recommended that ConnDOT further study the issue.

Ned Lamont (D)

On transportation and land use: “As governor, I will make cities the hubs of our transportation network. For too long, Connecticut’s transportation policies have isolated our cities. We’ve sliced up our urban areas with elevated freeways designed to bring cars in and out as quickly as possible. Yet how much time do commuters spend stuck in traffic? We’ve spent billions on freeways, and they are still parking lots at 5:00 p.m.  As governor, I will center the state’s transportation and development strategy on our urban transit hubs—revitalizing our downtowns and liberating commuters from rush hour traffic. That will mean infrastructure investments like New Haven-Springfield high-speed rail, combined with a strong focus on transit-oriented development.”

On cycling: “Making Connecticut more bike-friendly is a high priority of mine—and of my running mate, Mary Glassman. She has unveiled a comprehensive bicycling plan, which I strongly support. It would require the legislature and State Bonding Commission to preserve funds for bike investments, pursue federal funds more aggressively, and then use these funds to encourage towns to be more bike-friendly, as Mary has done in Simsbury as First Selectwoman.”

His overall priorities:

  • Focusing our long-term investments on rail, bus, and transit-oriented growth
  • Fixing our roads and bridges
  • Encouraging vanpooling, biking, and telecommuting to get cars off the road
  • Promoting Bradley Airport, as well as our other ports and airports

I believe that throughout this all, we must pursue a regional approach. For too long, we’ve looked at transportation as something that starts and ends within our borders. … We have to look at the big picture: people and products move around the entire region, not just within our borders.”

Lamont said he would support vulnerable users legislation, “would at least consider all-electronic tolling and congestion pricing,” and was in favor of Safe Routes to Transit and Safe Routes for Seniors programs. He had no position on red-light cameras.

Visit TSTC’s website for the full responses. TSTC did not receive answers from Democratic candidate Dan Malloy or Republican candidate Oz Griebel. The CT primary is tomorrow, August 10.

Tri-State is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse.

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