|For immediate release:
August 3, 2011
Ya-Ting Liu, Federal Advocate
On the heels of the debt ceiling agreement in Washington D.C., the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional transportation policy watchdog group, warned against federal cuts to transportation, saying current proposals could seriously harm the state’s economy.
In particular, House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman John Mica’s proposal for the next federal transportation bill would cut federal funding to the state by $1.5 billion over the next 6 years and would cost the state almost 9,000 jobs in the first year. If the House proposal is enacted, Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) could suffer a loss of $246 million in 2012; or 34% of total annual transportation funding it receives from the feds.
These cuts could be in addition to any imposed by Tuesday’s federal debt ceiling agreement. Specific impacts of the debt ceiling agreement are murky, but transportation is one of the domestic programs likely to see cuts. Discretionary spending grant programs, such as TIGER, New Starts, Sustainable Communities Regional Planning, and High Speed Rail are particularly vulnerable.
Connecticut’s transportation projects greatly rely on federal support. Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s analysis of ConnDOT’s 2010-2014 capital program shows that:
The House proposal would curtail critical road and bridge repair and maintenance work across the state, and could threaten projects like the New Haven-Springfield Rail Line and Hartford-New Britain Bus Rapid Transit. That would be even more bad news for Connecticut commuters, who already face bus, train, and paratransit fare hikes and service cuts if the state’s “Plan B” budget remains in force. The “Plan B” budget would also cut the state’s Special Transportation Trust Fund by $225 million over two years, making it even harder to maintain and improve the transportation network.
“Connecticut residents need safe roads and bridges, modern buses and trains, and a transportation system that supports a 21st-century economy,” said Ryan Lynch, Connecticut coordinator for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “This is an ill-advised plan that would make it harder to get around the state.”“The next federal transportation bill will impact Connecticut’s transportation system for years to come. If Connecticut residents want safe, affordable, efficient transportation options, now is the time to urge Congress to oppose these cuts,” said Ya-Ting Liu, Federal Advocate for Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a nonprofit transportation policy group dedicated to creating a more balanced, environmentally friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.