GREENWICH – State Representatives Livvy Floren (R-149), Mike Bocchino (R-150), Fred Camillo (R-151) and State Senator Scott Frantz (R-36) organized and cohosted the Greenwich Transportation Forum on March 27th, 2018 at Greenwich Town Hall. Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner James Redeker was present, and discussed current projects and proposals with attendees.
Greenwich, which is home to thousands of bus and rail commuters, would be directly impacted by proposed bus and rail fare increases, as well as changes to rail service, should these proposals be approved by the General Assembly. Additionally, the governor’s proposed gas tax hike and tire tax, as a solution to funding future transportation projects, has been met with criticism from legislators. Commissioner Redeker insisted that these tax changes, in addition to electronic highway tolls, are the answer to keeping the Special Transportation Fund (STF) solvent well into the future.
Several Greenwich residents, including members of the delegation, believe that such proposals will only give the state government an excuse to increase overall state spending. With the absence of a reliable lockbox on the STF, Republican members of the legislature are concerned that major transportation projects will remain neglected while wasteful spending continues, only on a larger scale.
“I thank Commissioner Redeker for joining us last night, and for presenting his ideas to members of our community,” Rep. Floren said. “The most effective way to address major state issues is by bridging the gap between our government and the people it represents. Several Greenwich residents came prepared with great questions and I thank them for their participation. Certainly we can work together to improve transportation in our town (and state) without putting more financial pressure on commuters.”
“I think Greenwich residents are worried about the future of public transportation, and how that will impact their commutes,” Rep. Bocchino said. “A Metro North ticket is not cheap, and with proposed increases over the next few years, travel costs will become prohibitively expensive for many. Thank you to Commissioner Redeker and all those who attended last night’s forum. It was a productive meeting that I hope will lead to a better, more sustainable transportation system in Fairfield County.”
“The intent of public transportation is to reduce congestion on Connecticut’s overcrowded highways,” Rep. Camillo said. “We should be encouraging people to ride the trains and take the bus, rather than forcing them to settle for rush hour traffic. I am thankful to the Commissioner for his time, and for engaging with our residents. I sincerely hope we can find other ways to keep the STF solvent without asking more from commuters. Personally, I think the answer lies in a more thorough review of overall state spending. I also think we need to look more towards the private sector for solutions to our transportation issues.”
“Whether it’s for work or weekend trips, anyone who travels through Fairfield County knows that our roadways are often congested and at times impassable, and for those reasons investing in our infrastructure is vitally important,” Sen. Frantz said. “That being said we must do more with what we already have at the state level – increasing taxes through tolls and rail fares hikes is not the answer. Our residents are already overtaxed as it is. As a state we must prioritize our spending so that we can invest in necessary infrastructure projects that will help increase interstate commerce and alleviate the burdensome travel that goes along with living in Southern Connecticut.”