Get CT moving again?

To the Editor:

“The primary objective of this study was to determine whether congestion pricing on I-95 and Route 15 using All Electronic Tolling could reduce congestion along the I-95 corridor” begins the CONCLUSION of the I-95 Corridor Congestion Relief Study developed by a highway consultant firm and delivered to Dannel Malloy’s ConnDOT in 2016. The study was coordinated and funded through the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) Value Pricing Pilot Program and the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The CONCLUSION continues : “As discussed in this Executive Summary and throughout the Report, the findings from this study demonstrate the potential for a significant reduction in the severe congestion levels being experienced along I-95 between New Haven and New York through the use of congestion pricing.” Nevertheless, when Ned Lamont’s ConnDOT is now asked to state its position on tolling, it replies that is officially “agnostic” on the issue.

Presumably, Lamont’s new DOT commissioner, a train guy, has never seen or read the report. If Lamont can’t get his own team on board with tolling why should anyone else get on board?

Now to the willy-dilly state legislators, from both the toll left or the no-toll right, who think tolling is only about money. Neither side wants to recognize that tolling, value and appropriately priced, is known around the country to go a long way to reducing congestion on major highways and byways. In fact, that finding is the key reason the FHA, through its Value Pricing Pilot Program, is even considering allowing CT to once again toll its highways.

Further along in the CONCLUSION on a no toll alternative: “A widening of I-95 with no tolling (Build Toll Free) provides some congestion relief to the corridor. However, significant in-fill volume is estimated to be added along the most congested sections between Bridgeport and Stamford with the widening. It was found that this additional volume at interchanges causes increased weaving and merging friction near already heavily used interchanges along the corridor, as traffic would now have to weave over 4 lanes, rather than 3. This finding illustrates the relative inability to build your way out of congestion in a corridor that is heavily saturated throughout the day and has many operational issues due to closely spaced interchanges with very high demand.”

The report is a tough read. It also states quite a bit neither side wants to hear. But we taxpayers paid for it. Lamont wants a special legislative session just on toiling this year. I suggest Lamont, his DOT Commissioner and every state legislator do a little study work of their own before that session begins.

Let’s get CT moving again? Or let’s continue its bad political steady habits?

Jim Brown