Analysis of Connecticut Transportation Spending Shows
At the same time, Connecticut devotes a relatively high share of spending to mass transit projects. Almost 37 percent of the state’s transportation capital budget is slated for mass transit projects. The influx of funds from the “Roadmap to Connecticut’s Economic Future,” a multi-billion dollar, 10-year transportation plan authored by Governor Rell and state legislative leaders has helped boost transit’s share of total funding by more than one-third over the 2000-2002 plan.
Reform: The Road Not Taken – A Review of Projected Transportation Spending in Connecticut, 2007-2010 is based on an exhaustive analysis of the 2007-2010 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), and comparison to the 2000-2002 STIP. The full report is available at the Campaign's website at www.tstc.org.
“ Connecticut’s spending on transit is good news for the state’s residents,” said Jon Orcutt, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “But it could do even better if it wasn’t pouring so many resources into highway expansion – other states have acknowledged the futility of trying to build their way out of roadway congestion.”
Connecticut’s plan to dedicate the majority of highway and bridge funding to expansion projects represents a stark reversal from just a few years ago. The 2000-2002 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program allocated more than 70 percent of highway and bridge dollars to maintenance, with only 20 percent slated for highway expansion.
The state’s emphasis on expansion does not bode well for the condition of Connecticut’s roads and bridges. Connecticut’s roads, already among the worst in the country, have not shown marked improvement in the last decade. The most recent federal data puts more than three-quarters of the state’s road miles in “less than good condition.” The federal government rates one-third of Connecticut’s bridges as deficient, after a steady ten-year decline.
Connecticut also lags behind the rest of the country in spending on bicycle and pedestrian projects. The state devotes only $0.94 per person to bicycle and pedestrian projects, compared to $1.34 nationally and $7.31 in Rhode Island.
Governor Rell’s recent call for “a more responsive, more responsible DOT and a DOT that will continue to broaden its focus beyond highways” is a step in the right direction. To propel ConnDOT into the 21 st Century, the report urges the following changes:
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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a policy watchdog organization working to reverse deepening automobile dependence in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut metropolitan region. www.tstc.org.