Connecticut Transportation Budget in the Air as a Budget Deficit Looms

The Nutmeg state, officially known as Connecticut is a small state along the east coast with close proximity to major urban centers such as Boston, Providence, Springfield, and New York City. The state capital, Hartford, has historically been known for being the insurance capital of the world. Connecticut’s economy does not heavily rely on agriculture or a livestock centric economy. The economy of the state relies primarily on a service based model. Connecticut does still have a farming industry with Connecticut agriculture contributing roughly 4.6 billion dollars to the state’s economy every year. The primary agriculture products produced in Connecticut are dairy products, eggs, and greenhouse products such as flowers. The state also raises cattle but is not a large market in the state. Insurance and financial service companies are the core industries in the state economy with companies such as Aetna and United Healthcare’s headquarters being located in Hartford.Connecticut Transportation Budget in the Air as a Budget Deficit Looms

With Connecticut’s 2015-2018 transportation department plan set to expire in the coming months, a new plan has been developed and is set to be adopted that will be initiated in the coming months and last through 2021. This plan is critical for the infrastructure of the state’s rail system and highways. The plan indicates several expensive highway and bridge projects that include repairs to sections of the “Mixmaster” in Waterbury, to the I-95 Bridge between New London and Groton, as well as a redesign of Route 9 in Middletown in order to eliminate highway traffic lights. The transit system received a large portion of the 2015-18 state’s transportation budget due to the emphasis Connecticut placed on overhauling the public transit system, transit will receive less resources under the new plan. The only major transit projects will be an upgrade for the tracks on the Metro-North Railroad’s New Haven Line to install an expensive crash-prevention systems. This repair is critical because the New Haven Line is one of the most busy commuter lines in the nation. There are also plans to replace a portion of the CT Transit bus fleet. Whereas the 2015-18 transit plan totaled about $4 billion and designated 54 percent of the budget to transit and 46 percent to highways, the new 2018-21 plan is seeking $4.5 billion in funding, with 79 percent going to highways and 21 percent to transit. Some transit advocates were concerned with these numbers but Transportation Commissioner James Redeker asserted that despite less of the budget being allocated to transit that the state money being dedicated to roadways will benefit everyone, whether on a bus, in a car, or truck. Redeker also went on to reassure transit advocates by saying that Connecticut historically receives more federal aid for highways than transit and so purely state-funded projects will be weighted towards transit over the next few years. Redeker went on to say that as a result of this, the split for transit will be closer to 38 percent. Despite the new plan and projects being planned there are funding concerns because the DOT are partially depending on state resources. The resource allocation is up in the air because the state is dealing with a $5 billion budget deficit and pending budget cuts have been made across the board.

Better roadways will surely reduce flatbed shipping transit time due to reduced traffic and congestion on highways. Although Connecticut is not a large manufacturing or agriculture state, there is a high volume of flatbed trucks that pass through the state due to its centralized location.
Connecticut has a proximal location to New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and much of New England. Increased funding to state roadways will surely benefit flatbed carriers in the long term as it will facilitate the process of traveling around and through the state.

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