Opinion: Proposed $21 Billion Transportation Spending Plan a Step in the Right Direction
Melissa Kaplan-Macey, vice president of state programs and Connecticut director at the Regional Plan Association, writes an opinion piece for the Hartford Courant making the case for a paradigm shift in transportation funding in the Constitution State.
The opinion piece follows shortly on the heals of Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont releasing a new $21 billion capital investment plan called CT2030, which Kaplan-Macey describes as a good, but not perfect, start to achieving the changes called for in the article.
The overarching goal of the plan is to reduce commute times and improve commuter experience. It includes highway improvement projects that seek to reduce congestion, rail improvement projects that speed commutes and limited bus transit investment. It proposes funding these improvements with a mix of federal low-interest loans and revenue from a long-overdue electronic tolling system.
Here's the "not perfect" part:
But the state should reconsider its pursuit of highway expansions that induce traffic and increase air pollution. Instead, the state should manage demand on existing roadways and invest in public transit.
To make the case for an urban focus on transportation spending and additional public transit investments, Kaplan-Macey explains induced demand, cites the rising demand for walkable neighborhoods with access to public transit, laments Connecticut's historic neglect of its urban centers, and builds a counter argument for the already emerging Republican opposition to the CT2030 proposal.