PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release
March 1, 2010

Contact: Ryan Lynch, Kate Slevin
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
(860) 796-6988; (212) 268-7474

Analysis of Connecticut Transportation Spending Shows More Balanced Priorities

An analysis of Connecticut's 2010 to 2013 transportation plan reveals that the agency is spending more on road and bridge repair, public transportation, and cycling and walking projects.

Tracking the Dollars: A Review of Projected Transportation Spending in Connecticut, 2010-2013, is based on an exhaustive analysis of the 2010-2013 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and comparison to previous transportation plans. The analysis was conducted by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional policy watchdog organization and frequent critic of ConnDOT.

"The analysis proves that the Connecticut Department of Transportation has begun to shift dramatically towards sustainable, 21st century transportation policies," said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "For the first time since 2002 ConnDOT is spending more on maintenance and repair of its existing road and bridge infrastructure than it is spending on highway expansion projects.

In the past, TSTC has criticized ConnDOT for building expensive new highway projects at the expense of existing roads and bridges and other transportation options. Connecticut has some of the worst roads in the nation, with more than 75 percent of Connecticut's roadway lane miles in "less than good" condition and over 33 percent of the state's bridges ranked as deficient.

TSTC predicted that the recent shift in funding priorities toward more maintenance and repair would start to improve road and bridge conditions.

The report also finds that Connecticut is spending more on transit, bicycle and pedestrian projects.

"Commissioner Marie has helped ConnDOT become a more multi-modal agency at a time when Connecticut needs it most," said Ryan Lynch, Connecticut coordinator and senior planner for the Campaign. "Now is a good time to ensure our investments are the right ones, ones that are good for our economy, the planet, and the quality of life of the people of Connecticut."

Specifically, the report finds:

  • Connecticut allocates the majority of transportation capital funding to highways and bridges, with approximately 54 percent funds in that category of projects. Thirty-nine percent of capital funding is dedicated to mass transit projects, while 1.1 percent is devoted to bicycle and pedestrian projects.
  • Of the portion set aside for bridge and highway spending, almost 50 percent is dedicated to maintenance and repair projects, with nearly 47 percent dedicated to expansion projects.
  • Spending on maintenance and repair has increased from just 36 percent in the 2007-2010 STIP.
  • Connecticut is making significant steps towards spending its transportation capital dollars in a more sustainable manner. Projected capital funding for transit projects is up significantly, and funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects has also increased.
 

TSTC urged ConnDOT to continue to build upon its gains with the following recommendations:

  • Continue to Fix-it-First: ConnDOT should reduce the size of future components of the massive Q-Bridge reconstruction project and divert excess funds to road and bridge maintenance. Going forward, the state should cap spending on highway expansion projects at 5 percent of overall transportation spending.
  • Develop more effective tools to manage congestion: The state should consider sustainable congestion relief measures, including more coordinated and efficient land use planning and roadway pricing along the most heavily-traveled routes.
  • Continue efforts to create a robust bicycle and pedestrian program: ConnDOT and the Connecticut General Assembly should pre-designate 10 percent of two flexible federal programs (Highway Safety Improvement Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program), to bicycle and pedestrian projects and new initiatives like Safe Routes for Seniors and Safe Routes to Transit. This would add approximately $4 million a year to bicycle and pedestrian project spending.
  • Ensure greater transparency at ConnDOT: ConnDOT should combine all federal and state expenditure plans into a single, easy-to-read document and update its website. This will enable the public to more accurately assess the state's transportation priorities.

The full report is available at the Campaign's website at www.tstc.org.

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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 region.