Last November, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy asked each state department to draft a plan for how they would deal with a potential 10 percent budget cut. Connecticut is facing a $1.3 billion budget deficit in fiscal year 2018 (which begins July 1, 2017), and an estimated deficit of at least $1.4 billion in the following fiscal year.
By December 1, the Connecticut Department of Transportation had come up with a list of options for how to reduce its budget by 10 percent. While the proposed cutbacks included closing highway rest areas and ending the practice of hiring contractors to clear snow from highways, the list of cost-saving measures would disproportionately impact transit riders. The Hartford Courant‘s Don Stacom reported last month:
CT Transit riders would be hit with a 30 to 40 percent reduction in service along with a 25-cent fare increase in 2018. CTfastrak service would not be extended to East Hartford and Manchester, along with Torrington to Waterbury runs. CTfastrak would postpone its new service to UConn, and many of CT Transit’s express and local routes would operate less frequently.
Metro-North and Shore Line East riders would absorb a 5 percent fare increase, and off-peak and weekend service on the Waterbury and Danbury lines would end. Shore Line East service would be slashed by half, the DOT said.
The commuter train service between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield that’s set to debut next winter would be pushed off by two years to save $8.2 million, the DOT said. But the agency warned that further delays could risk huge expenses because the state might be forced to repay more than $100 million in federal aid for the project.
The DOT would also cut about $31 million in subsidies to local transit districts across the state.
Let that sink in.