HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and state Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker Wednesday announced a list of projects totaling $4.3 billion that are postponed indefinitely until new revenue is put into the special transportation fund.
The list of projects across the state includes critical design and improvements to the Interstate 91/ 691 and Route 15 interchange in Meriden, which is estimated to cost $25 million this year or an estimated total of $88 million. State police have identified the triangle as the cause of numerous accidents in recent years.
Work was set to start this year.
Also in Meriden, road work on the Cooper Street bridge over Harbor Brook estimated to cost $2.1 million is also postponed. Design work on new train stations in North Haven, West Hartford, and New Haven, Newington and Enfield is also on hold, as is double tracking from Windsor to Springfield.
Malloy stated his administration will announce detailed proposals this month that, if adopted by the General Assembly, would bring the projects back online.
“If Connecticut does not take the necessary action to allow us to restart these vital projects, not only will it put the state’s infrastructure into a further state of disrepair, it will hurt our economy,” Malloy stated. “If we want to compete in the 21st century economy, we need a transportation system that works for people and businesses, and we need to invest in transit-oriented development to build the communities where people and businesses want to be. I want to be very clear – this is preventable, but it requires immediate action. The legislature must act this year to avoid potentially devastating setbacks to our transportation system.”
State Sen. Leonard Suzio R-Meriden accused Malloy of “misplacing priorities” and playing politics.
“The governor is manufacturing this crisis to justify call for gas tax increases and tolls,” Suzio said. “It’s a question of priorities. It’s not like there is nothing left.”
Suzio said the legislature doesn’t need talks on increasing gas taxes to garner support for Malloy’s “outrageous spending plan,” and points to CTfastrak busline as an example of misplaced priorities. The state’s highways and bridges in use today should come first before a new bus line. The increased commuter rail on the Hartford Line has a higher priority than the busline, Suzio said.
Suzio doesn’t agree with Malloy that gas tax revenues have dropped because of decreased consumption, he said, and he is opposed to tolls.
Under Malloy, transportation costs have increased from $286 million in 2011 to $1.4 billion in 2018, he said. “The priorities are completely wrong. The Meriden triangle highway redesign is a safety issue that should “have been very high on the priority list. The benefit is so significant,” Suzio said.