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Public Hearing on DOT Fare Increases

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The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) recently announced that they will be holding a public hearing in New London regarding proposed bus and rail fare increases and service reductions. At these hearings, DOT representatives will provide information and accept public comments about the fare and service proposals.

 

When: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Where: New London City Hall Council Chambers

181 State Street, New London
Snow date: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

Rail Services: A rail fare increase would take effect in three phases – 10 percent on July 1, 2018, 5 percent on July 1, 2020, and 5 percent on July 1, 2021, for a cumulative total of 21.28 percent. Rail service reductions on Shore Line East would also take effect on or about July 1, 2018.

 

Bus Services: A 14.3 percent, or 25-cent, bus fare increase would take effect on July 1, 2018. 

 

Ferry Services: A $1 increase in the car fare for the Chester-Hadlyme ferry.

 

The DOT feels that these actions are necessary due to an estimated $60 million budget shortfall for transit and rail accounts.

 

If these changes would affect you, I encourage you to attend the public hearing and provide verbal comment at this hearing. If you are unable to attend, you can provide written comment via mail or e-mail.

 

You may submit written comments by March 9, 2018 to:

 

Connecticut Department of Transportation

P.O. Box 317546

Newington, CT 06131-7546

or

dot.farecomments@ct.gov

 

The DOT will review and consider all comments received during the public comment period before approving the final service and fare proposal. The implementation of any service and fare changes is contingent on action by the General Assembly.

 

The hearing facility is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Free Language assistance may be requested by contacting the DOT at (203) 497-3374 at least 5 business days prior to the hearing. Persons having a hearing and/or speech disability may dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS).

Eversource Aerial Inspections

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Please be aware that Eversource will be conducting statewide infrared inspections of their high-voltage electrical equipment this week. The inspections involve the use of a helicopter equipped with heat-sensing, infrared scanning technology to detect any potential equipment issues before they occur.

As you may have already noticed, the aerial inspections began this week and, weather permitting, will continue through Wednesday, February 28th. Flights will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. covering several towns, including Ledyard, Montville and our neighboring communities.

DESCRIPTION OF AIRCRAFT: Blue & Gray Helicopter, Tail #N1431W.

If you have any questions or concerns about these inspections, please contact Frank Poirot at Eversource at (860) 665-3409 or frank.poirot@eversource.com.

Free Parking at Connecticut State Parks

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Spring will be here before we know it and I’m sure we are all looking forward to enjoying the warm weather at our local state park, Stoddard Hill. I would like to let you know that if you also plan to visit our beautiful state parks this season, the Passport to Parks Program has recently launched to make parking much more affordable. It was approved in the bipartisan budget passed this past October.

The program allows Connecticut residents with valid state license plates to park for free at state parks when you pay a $10 fee to get a new registration, renewal or plate transfer through the DMV.

Out-of-state vehicles will still be charged parking fees, ranging from $7 to $22, depending on the park and time of day. Fees to reserve overnight campground sites for both in-state and out-of-state visitors will still apply.

Funds generated by the program will go toward the Connecticut State Park system in an effort to restore several services at the parks that had been previously reduced, such as reopening several closed campgrounds, increasing staffing of state beaches during the summer and restoration of regular hours of operation at certain nature centers and museums.

Click here for FAQs on the Passport to Parks Program.  For additional information or to ask questions, please contact the Connecticut State Parks Department at 860-424-3200 or deep.stateparks@ct.gov.

Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus Strongly Opposes Tolls

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HARTFORD — Today the Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus expressed its opposition to plans proposed by Governor Malloy, as well as other lawmakers, for the installation of electronic tolls on Connecticut highways. On Wednesday, Governor Malloy held a press conference discussing the Special Transportation Fund (STF) and detailing his support for electronic tolls, a seven cent per gallon increase in the gas tax, a new three dollar fee on tire purchases and accelerating the transfer of new car sales tax revenue to the STF by two years.

As recently as last week, lawmakers in Hartford discussed plans to install “congestion pricing tolls” on all major highways, including I‑95, I-91, I-84, I-395, I-691, as well as Route 2, Route 6, Route 7, Route 8 and Route 15. House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-30) recently “promised” a vote on tolls during the upcoming session opening on Wednesday, February 7th. Once in place, the door would be opened for potential tolls on every major bridge and highway across the state.

Congestion pricing tolls are those in which the surcharge is not constant, but instead rises and falls based upon the amount of traffic at the time. Some states have seen congestion toll pricing as high as $50.00 per toll. Here in Connecticut, lawmakers have been discussing having as many as 32 tolls just on the span of I-95 alone, not to mention those planned for Connecticut’s other highways.

The Conservative Caucus opposes the imposition of tolls on the Connecticut taxpayer as a new revenue source for the following reasons:

  • Connecticut has one of the highest gasoline tax rates in the country and receives hundreds of millions of dollars in yearly aid from the federal government that would be forfeited with the imposition of general highway tolls.
  • Toll infrastructure would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to install, along with the cost of establishing an additional state bureaucracy and expanding the state employee workforce.
  • The toll infrastructure would take approximately two to three years to install so there is no immediate influx of revenue to offset expenditures.
  • Approximately 70% of all toll revenues would be paid by Connecticut residents and much of the revenue gain would be spent in collection and enforcement efforts netting little “real” revenue to the STF.
  • The imposition of electronic tolls, including congestion pricing, offers little direct benefit to Connecticut residents and will only further damage our fragile economy.
  • Serious privacy concerns arise when dealing with the electronic monitoring of travel.

Rep. Doug Dubitsky, caucus member said, “This is just another way for the state to suck more and more money out of your wallet. Gas tax money is supposed to pay for our transportation infrastructure needs, but the governor and the Democrats keep diverting that money to fund their irresponsible spending addiction. No matter how much new money they take from the people of this state, it will never be enough if they won’t put transportation money toward transportation.”

Rep. Anne Dauphinais, caucus Vice-Chair, said, “The projected payback is so far down the road, I don’t know why we are even discussing this. I am not comfortable at all with expanding government in exchange for the hope that more than a decade from now we might see a return.”

The Connecticut General Assembly Conservative Caucus is a group of Connecticut legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. Its members foster open debate about the role of government in society, adherence to the Constitution, and the rule of law. They propose and advocate for legislation that promotes the freedoms, individual rights, and prosperity of all Americans.

The members of the Conservative caucus are: Rep. Rob Sampson, Chair (R-80); Rep. Anne Dauphinais Vice-Chair (R-44); Rep. Mike France, Secretary (R-42); Rep. Doug Dubitsky, Treasurer (R-47); Rep. Vincent Candelora (R-86); Senator Joe Markley (R-16), and Rep. Tim Ackert (R-8), Rep. Craig Fishbein (R-90), Rep. John Fusco (R-81), and Rep. John Piscopo (R-76).

Rep. Mike France to Hold Town Hall Meeting in Ledyard

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LEDYARD — State Representative Mike France (R-42) invites constituents to meet with him at the Ledyard Town Hall Annex on January 29th to discuss the status of the state budget and legislative priorities for the 2018 Regular Session that begins on February 7th. Rep. France is also happy to answer any questions or concerns constituents may have related to state government.

WHEN: Friday, January 29, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: Ledyard Town Hall Annex, 741 Colonel Ledyard Highway, Ledyard

This event is free and open to the public. If constituents are unable to attend but would still like to connect with Rep. France, please do not hesitate to contact him at Mike.France@housegop.ct.gov or (800) 842-1423. In the event that the meeting must be postponed, a notice will be posted on Rep. France’s website at www.RepFrance.com and on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RepFrance. Constituents can also sign up for e-mail notifications on his website.