Connecticut Governor Blows Transit Funding Opportunities

Recently, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell announced her budget for fiscal 2010 & 2011. Unfortunately for the state’s mass transit system, funding opportunities were blown. Tri-State Transportation Campaign Senior Planner Ryan Lynch takes a look at these blown opportunities in his entry:

Governor Rell announced her budget for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 last Wednesday in Hartford. With Connecticut facing a $922 million deficit, her proposal was mainly a laundry list of spending cuts, fee increases, and agency consolidations. With the exception of a speed camera pilot program, however, Governor Rell offered little vision on how to fund the transportation system moving forward.

Governor Rell missed an opportunity to call for some form of open-road congestion pricing on Connecticut’s roads, an action that in addition to generating revenue for the transportation system would reduce congestion and improve the environment.

The Transportation Strategy Board, tasked with directing transportation policy in the state, is set to receive the final report on congestion pricing from Cambridge Systematics on February 19. Her budget address would have been an opportune time to show support for an innovative funding policy that might be a heavy political lift.

Click here for the complete entry.

I can’t say that I follow the ins & outs of politics & issues involving Connecticut on a daily basis. However I do try to keep abreast of what is going on. I have to say I found the comment posted below the entry to be very interesting. The person who went by the name of “DingDong” stated:

The white suburban voters will always love Grandma Rell. She doesn’t get cities and doesn’t care about the poor, but neither do most Connecticut voters. This is part of the reason that ConnDOT didn’t do as bad as other agencies – and that the transportation funding decreases we did see were from programs specifically targeting lower-income residents.

Knowing the demographic & financial makeup of the state leads me to believe that “DingDong” might be on to something in terms of program decreases targeting lower-income residents. It is a shame that eventhough the lower-income residents do not make up the majority of Connecticut residents, their options are considered to not be as important. This is the wrong message to send in a day & age where we all should encourage as much investment into our transit programs as possible.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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