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FUTURE MOBILITY IN CONNECTICUT: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility

Posted by Content Coordinator on Thursday, August 19th, 2010

THE ROAD INFORMATION PROGRAM

Executive Summary

Connecticut’s extensive system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit provides the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. As the backbone that supports the Constitution State, Connecticut’s surface transportation system provides for travel to work and school, visits with family and friends, and trips to tourist and recreation attractions while simultaneously providing businesses with reliable access for customers, suppliers and employees. Connecticut must improve its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit to foster economic growth, keep business in the state, and ensure the safe, reliable mobility needed to improve quality of life in Connecticut.

As Connecticut looks to rebound from the current economic downturn, the state will need to enhance its surface transportation system by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for residents, visitors and businesses. With unemployment in Connecticut jumping from 4.5 percent in June 2007 to 8.8 percent in June 2010, making needed improvements to the state’s roads, highways, bridges and transit could provide a significant boost to the state’s economy by creating jobs and stimulating long-term economic growth as a result of enhanced mobility and access.

The federal government is an essential source of funding for the ongoing modernization of Connecticut’s roads, highways, bridges and transit. While construction materials costs have stabilized somewhat during the current recession, a 33 percent materials cost increase over the past five years, coupled with declines in federal transportation revenues, has contributed to the difficulty all states face in maintaining and improving their surface transportation systems.

Approved in February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided approximately $302 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $137 million for public transit improvements in Connecticut. This funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system. Meeting Connecticut’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.

Congress is currently deliberating over a long-range federal surface transportation program. The current program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), originally scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires on December 31, 2010 following five short-term extensions. The level of funding and the provisions of a future federal surface transportation program will have a significant impact on future highway and bridge conditions and safety as well as the level of transit service in Connecticut, which, in turn, will affect the state’s ability to improve its residents’ quality of life and enhance economic development opportunities.

The federal surface transportation program is an essential source of funding for the construction, maintenance and improvement of Connecticut’s system of roads, highways, bridges and public transit.

  • Federal spending levels for highways and public transit are based on the current federal surface transportation program, the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), which was approved by Congress in 2005. Following a series of short term extensions passed by Congress, SAFETEA-LU, scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009, now expires December 31, 2010.
  • Largely due to federal transportation funds, from 1998 to 2008, Connecticut has been able to complete numerous highway, bridge and transit projects that have improved safety and enhanced mobility and economic productivity. This report contains lists of statewide projects completed with federal funding.
  • From 1998 to 2008, Connecticut received approximately $5.2 billion in federal funding for road, highway and bridge improvements, and $1.3 billion for public transit, a total of approximately $6.5 billion.
  • While construction materials costs have stabilized or even decreased during the current recession, a 33 percent materials cost increase over the past five years, coupled with declines in federal transportation revenues, will make it more difficult for Congress to authorize new federal surface transportation legislation that adequately funds needed improvements to the nation’s roads, highways, bridges and public transit systems.

Without substantial federal funding, Connecticut will be unable to complete numerous projects to improve the condition and expand the capacity of roads, highways and public transit, hampering the state’s ability to improve mobility and to enhance economic development opportunities in the state.

  • Needed surface transportation projects in Connecticut that would require significant federal funding to proceed include the reconstruction of CT 15 from Fairfield to Trumbull, bridge replacements, improving interchanges and ramps on I-95 in Norwalk from US 7 to Exit 14, replacing the bridges and approach on I-95 in New Haven over the Quinnipiac River and New Haven Harbor, reconstructing and widening I-84 in Waterbury from Silver Street to Pierpont Road, and improvements to the New Britain – Hartford Busway. A full list of needed projects is included in the report.
  • TRIP estimates that Connecticut’s roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions cost the state’s drivers approximately $2.7 billion annually in the form of traffic crashes, additional vehicle operating costs and congestion-related delays.
  • TRIP estimates that roadways that lack some desirable safety features, have inadequate capacity to meet travel demands or have poor pavement conditions, cost the average Hartford area motorist $1,119 annually, while the cost to motorists in the Bridgeport and Stamford areas is $1,270 and $1,074 for the average New Haven area driver.
  • To ensure that federal funding for highways and bridges in Connecticut and throughout the nation continues beyond the expiration of SAFETEA-LU, Congress needs to approve a new long-term federal surface transportation program by December 31, 2010.
  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides approximately $302 million in stimulus funding for highway and bridge improvements and $152 million for public transit improvements in Connecticut.
  • ARRA funding can serve as a down payment on needed road, highway, bridge and transit improvements, but it is not sufficient to allow the state to proceed with numerous projects needed to modernize its surface transportation system. Meeting Connecticut’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways, bridges and transit will require a significant, long-term boost in transportation funding at the federal, state or local levels.

CT's VehicleTravel Increase

Download full report (PDF): Future Mobility in Connecticut

About The Road Information Program (TRIP)
www.tripnet.org
“Founded in 1971, TRIP is a nonprofit organization that promotes transportation policies that relieve traffic congestion, improve road and bridge conditions, improve air quality, make highway travel safer and enhance economic productivity.”

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